By Richard Leiby
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
And the hitmakers keep coming. Young pop phenoms Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato have signed on to play at a Kids' Inaugural concert Monday evening at Verizon Center, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced yesterday.
That's good news for Malia and Sasha Obama -- their father says they are fans of the Disney Channel hit series "Hannah Montana," starring Cyrus -- but other parents should dampen their tweens' excitement. Although the concert was previously announced as a free event with tickets required, it evidently won't be open to the screaming masses.
The inaugural committee is handling ticket distribution, and "they have told us to tell callers that no general public tickets are available," said Sheila Francis, Verizon Center's publicity director.
The committee would not comment on ticketing details. But it appears that only preselected groups -- mainly military families -- will be invited. The concert, to be hosted by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, will be broadcast live on the Disney Channel from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, the talent lineup for an official Neighborhood Ball at the Washington Convention Center was also revealed yesterday: Beyoncé and her husband, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill, Alicia Keys, Shakira and Stevie Wonder will perform. But, again, no ticketing info was released. That ball, hosted by the newly installed president, will be geared toward Washingtonians, with a portion of tickets set aside for locals.
The committee described it as "the premier event of inauguration evening." The ball will be broadcast on ABC from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. It will feature the president and first lady's first dance of the night.
"I wanted to make sure that we had an event that would be open to our new neighborhood here in Washington, D.C., and also neighborhoods across the country," Obama said in a statement last week.
Music industry insiders say there has been a last-minute scramble to nail down performers for the official balls and events. The lineups for the other nine presidential balls are expected to be announced this week. And the glitz quotient -- in terms of confirmed musical acts and celebrities -- keeps rising. The biggest free public entertainment event will be Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial, a 90-minute concert also featuring Beyoncé, Shakira and Wonder, along with Usher, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and several other stars. Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah will give historical readings.
The long inaugural weekend is shaping up as a bonanza for music lovers -- at least those who can score tickets. The rapper Nas, rock guitarist Slash, gospel star Donnie McClurkin and singer-songwriter Josh Groban were among the headliners confirmed yesterday for the nonofficial Heroes Red White & Blue Inaugural Ball, geared toward wounded service members. It will be held at the Warner Theatre, with tickets starting at $250 per person.
Details also were announced for a jazz-centered "Celebration of America" at the Kennedy Center on Monday. The show emerged from a conversation between Wynton Marsalis and former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor, according to its producers. The talent includes Dave Brubeck, Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves; Angela Bassett will host. Tickets are not available to the public.