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Play It Again, Condi

2 minute read
Hillary Batchelder and Elisabeth Salemme

How about a little night music from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice? In keeping with tradition at the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit–where each leader performs at the gala dinner–Rice, a gifted pianist, chose a Brahms piece to reflect the world’s “serious” mood. Here’s a look at other great–O.K., maybe just memorable–performances over the years by political figures on nonpolitical stages.

LOUIS XIV Tuck this away for Trivial Pursuit: the Sun King’s nickname is said to come from a lavish gold costume he once wore–as a ballet dancer. Louis pirouetted in his youth and established the first professional ballet academy in France in the 17th century.

HARRY S TRUMAN Lauren Bacall, leggy, 20 and perched atop the piano, added a sexy grace note to then Vice President Truman’s performance at the National Press Club in 1945.

RICHARD NIXON Eisenhower V.P. and piano man Nixon formed a duet with comedian (and violinist) Jack Benny at a Washington black-tie ball in 1959.

RUDY GIULIANI The N.Y.C. mayor kicked up his (not-so-high) heels in 1997 on Saturday Night Live, playing the mother of Cheri Oteri’s character Rita Delvecchio.

BILL CLINTON En route to the presidency in 1992, Clinton appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show to perform a saxophone solo. He played Heartbreak Hotel–and voters swooned.

COLIN POWELL At the 2004 ASEAN talent show, Powell, then Secretary of State, proved himself a macho, macho man with a rendition of the Village People’s YMCA.

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