WASHINGTON The event isthe Opening Celebration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural, to be presented exclusively by HBO on Sunday, January 18 (7:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT). The event will be free and open to the public, kicking off the most open and accessible Inauguration in history.
The special will be executive produced by George Stevens, Jr. (The Kennedy
Center Honors), and produced by Don Mischer (Olympic Ceremonies) who will
also direct the special, and Michael Stevens (The American Film Institute
Salutes) who is also writing the special, and will be a production of The
Stevens Company in association with Don Mischer Productions.
Musical performers scheduled for the event include Beyonce, Mary J.
Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie
Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp,
Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am, and
Stevie Wonder. Among those reading historical passages will be Jamie
Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington.
The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson will give the invocation. Rob Mathes
will be the music director and arranger for the backing band, which will
support all of the artists. Additional performers will be announced as
they are confirmed.
"Our intention is to root the event in history, celebrating the moments when
our nation has united to face great challenges and prevail," observed George
Stevens, Jr. "We will combine historical readings by prominent actors
with music from an array of the greatest stars of today."
"This is a great opportunity to capture an historic event in a very
meaningful setting," noted Don Mischer. "We will have the statue of
Abraham Lincoln looking down on our stage and a crowd of hundreds of
thousands of people lining the mall—a tableau any director would relish."
"We have found that the great artists are eager to take part and each one is
working with us to find music that expresses the optimism and hope that
people bring to the Obama inauguration," said Michael Stevens.
Televised to the nation, the Opening Celebration will be a declaration of
common purpose and new beginnings. The Sunday afternoon performance
will be grounded in history and brought to life with entertainment that
relates to the themes that shaped Barack Obama and which will be the
hallmarks of his administration.
HBO will televise the event on an open signal, working with all of its
distributors to allow Americans across the country with access to cable,
telcos or satellite television to join in the Opening Celebration for free.
The 56th Inauguration promises to be the most inclusive in history, and the
Opening Celebration is one of a series of inaugural events that reflect that
commitment. On Saturday, the President-elect, Vice President-elect and
their families will journey to the nation's capital via train, holding
events that are free and open to the public along the way. They will
be joined by a group of everyday Americans they met along their road to the
White House. On January 19th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day,
President-elect Obama will call on all Americans to make an ongoing
commitment to serve their communities and their country. A new
website, USAservice.org, makes it easy for Americans to organize service
events or find existing events to participate in. To date, nearly
5,000 events have been organized across the country. That evening,
Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and their families will host a free "Kids'
Inaugural" concert to honor military families, broadcast live on the Disney
Channel and Radio Disney.
This spirit of openness will continue on Inauguration Day, when, for the
first time in history, the entire length of the National Mall will be open
to the public for the swearing in ceremony. Local D.C. students have
also been given the chance to receive tickets in front of the White House
for the Inaugural Parade for themselves and their family members based on
the submission of essays answering the question, "How can I contribute to my
neighborhood through community service?"
On the evening of Inauguration Day, the first ball that President Obama and
First Lady Michelle Obama will attend will be the first-ever Neighborhood
Inaugural Ball. The ball will be broadcast live on ABC and over the
Internet, bringing together neighborhoods across the country in the spirit
of unity and celebration.
The sum of these public events is an Inauguration that allows more Americans
than ever before to come together as one nation and one people, united in
our resolve to tackle our greatest common challenges and move this country
Talent lineup for Lincoln Memorial Event