1 user

Broadway Plays Washington on Kennedy Center Tonight (1982)

Musical celebration hosted by Debbie Reynolds honoring the 10th Anniversary of Washington's Kennedy Center in their support of the performing arts.


Stan Lathan


Stephen Dick


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Credited cast:
Bea Arthur ... Herself
Pearl Bailey ... Herself
Barry Bostwick ... Himself
Shelley Bruce ... Herself
Ellen Burstyn ... Herself
Martin Charnin Martin Charnin ... Himself
Imogene Coca ... Herself
John Cullum ... Himself
Christine Ebersole ... Herself
Debbie Shapiro Gravitte Debbie Shapiro Gravitte ... Herself (as Debbie Shapiro)
Helen Hayes ... Herself
Maurice Hines ... Himself
Phyllis Hyman Phyllis Hyman ... Herself
Larry Kert Larry Kert ... Himself
Andrea McArdle ... Herself


Musical celebration hosted by Debbie Reynolds honoring the 10th Anniversary of Washington's Kennedy Center in their support of the performing arts.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

13 March 1982 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Raquel Welch was originally set to host but left after a dispute with the producers and was replaced by 'Debbie Reynolds'. Later that same year, Debbie Reynolds also succeeded Raquel Welch in the Broadway Musical "Woman of the Year". See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Joyous, nostalgic look at Broadway's musical legends.
23 November 2003 | by gr-homeSee all my reviews

Mulling through old VHS tapes, this one again caught my eye and ear. The 1982 gala performance in Washington D.C. was a musical tribute honoring the 10th anniversary of the Kennedy Center's commitment and decade-long support of the performing arts. A glorious array of musical stars (soon to be legends) came on board to laud the Center's efforts and, for the most part, this three-hour tribute does the Center justice. Moreover, it's a rare chance to see some stars when they were at their prime, some up-and-comers who were on their way then but are now prime, and some legends past their prime but adding class and stature nevertheless. A thoroughly enjoyable piece of musical entertainment.

Glamorous Debbie Reynolds hosted the event and was given the opportunity to display her own gritty stuff with "I Ain't Down Yet," from "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." Other memorable moments included a segment in which the musical star recreated his-or-her scene-stealing number on Broadway. We were treated to the still magnificent chops of John Raitt with his rousing "Soliloquy" number from "Carousel"; the fiery energy of Chita Rivera strutting her stuff with "America" and "All That Jazz"; the cynical gravel tones of the wonderful Elaine Stritch belting out "The Ladies Who Lunch"; John Cullum's manly charm and solid baritone in "On a Clear Day..."; the well-known eccentrics of Charlotte Rae chirping away at "When the Idle Poor Becomes the Idle Rich"; and the cute and coy antics of the beloved Imogene Coca toying with the title song from "On the 20th Century."

Even more interesting was the following segment which introduced the "bright new stars of the future." Ken Page as Fats Waller with his droll rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Your Feets Too Big"; Christine Ebersole with the quietly intense Sondheim number "Not a Day Goes By"; the late Lynne Thigpen, who was a major musical talent ("Godspell," "Tintypes" and "Working") before focusing on straight dramatics, with her inspirational "What I Could Have Been"; and the petite dynamo Debbie Shapiro with the exceptional he-did-me-wrong song "Junkman."

Of course an evening like this has to be a mixed bag. Beatrice Arthur looked like she was sleepwalking through "Hey, Look Me Over" while the normally exciting Ann Reinking (and her dancers) turned in a listless "Too Darn Hot" dance interlude that was lukewarm at best. Alexis Smith is one stylish dame but her song "We Have Nothin' But Style" lacked just that. Barry Bostwick thought he was funnier than he was with his "Drive-In" number from "Grease," while our own "Ambassador of Love" Pearlie Mae was sorely off-key with her half-sung "Hello, Dolly!" and "Before the Parade Passes By." And though "West Side Story" star Larry Kert was tentative with his "Maria" high notes and Bobby Morse borderline annoying with his signature song "I Believe in You," from "How to Succeed...", together they did their drag rendition of "The Beauty That Drives a Man Mad" from "Sugar" that was, if nothing else, campy fun.

On the cute, engaging, if saccharine, side was Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse's introduction of four of their present and past Little Orphan Annies from Broadway: perky little Allison Smith, a very young and girlish Sarah Jessica Parker, a graceful and composed Shelley Bruce, and the show's original Annie, Andrea McArdle, who belted out a fantastic if shortened version of "Tomorrow."

For me, however, the night belonged to the fabulous hoofer Maurice Hines, whose dancing feet are as incredible as brother Gregory's, and the late Phyllis Hyman who was spotlighted in "Sophisticated Ladies" at the time. Hyman oozed out a haunting version of "In a Sentimental Mood," her sultry, smoky voice leaving a sad, tell-tale impression to this viewer since she died a suicide a decade later. But when it comes to energy, nobody does it better than the indefatigable Melba Moore who rips into "I've Got Love" and "Don't Rain on My Parade" like her life depended on it, showing off her amazing four-octave range with effortless ease.

Ellen Burstyn and Helen Hayes, two non-singers, were around as fundraisers to praise and promote not only the Kennedy Center, but PBS-TV network.

All in all, a joyful noise was captured that night at Kennedy Center, but I have no idea, unless someone taped it, how anyone can get a hold of this wonderful musical tribute to yesteryear.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed