Kander and Ebb were being honored at the 1998 Kennedy Center Honors and I was asked to take part in the presentation in their honor, directed by Rob Marshall. It was me, Joel Grey, Bebe Neuwirth, Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli! Not bad company!
I felt completely out of my depth. I remember in rehearsals Liza trying to teach me how to do that funny shoulder thing she does in New York, New York (which was the finale of the presentation) and not being able to grasp it and Liza saying 'Oh darling, just make it your own!'
I was still performing Cabaret on Broadway and they wouldn't let me have the Sunday matinee off so I had to rush to the airport right after the show and fly to D.C. and of course I missed the plane I was supposed to get, so by the time I got there I was late and there were Secret Service men waiting to get me when the plane door opened. I was driven so fast, in a car with a siren on top of it, and drivers were literally driving off the road to get out of our way as we passed. The thing is you have to get into a building before the president arrives cos once he gets there the doors are all locked. I was opening the entire show so it was kind of important to get me there that fast! We made it in the nick of time, but the entire experience was utterly surreal.
Afterwards at the party I met Henry Kissinger and we had our picture taken. I had it made into a christmas card and it said 'Love and Peace, Love Alan and Henry'!