While the world prepares for the upcoming inauguration of former Vice President Joe Bide and Kamala Harris, 23 years ago today, Bill Clinton’s inaugural gala was shaping up to be a night of celebration.
The 1993 Presidential Gala was a star-studded event with performances from artists crossing over all genres.
Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, and Candice Bergen served as co-hosts for the two-hour show at the USAir Arena. For performing, Stevie Wonder, Yearwood, Rogers, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Bernadette Peters, and Sandi Patti all sang original pieces.
In addition, Kenny G, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Dave Matthews Band performed accompanying the cast of the Broadway musicals “Chicago” and “Bring In ‘da Noise, Bring In ‘da Funk.”
Bill Clinton’s Innagural Gala: A Celebration Of America’s History & Culture
On Jan. 19 of that year, 11,000 of the president’s supporters could attend just by purchasing a $5 ticket for the 5 p.m. inauguration eve performance. Attendance for the upcoming inauguration is expected to be much lower than that due to COVID-19 precautions.
The 1993 show was broadcast on CBS airwaves. Some people even had the chance to snag a ticket for the gala’s free dress rehearsal the night before.
Following the tradition of including America’s best performers, the show was a celebration of America’s history and culture.
“We look for a combination of artists who really fit into this kind of an event, in addition to ones who are clearly popular,” producer Gary Smith said.
The tickets for the invitation-only gala sold for up to $3,000 each. The profits funded public events on the weekend before Bill Clinton was sworn in on Monday, Jan. 20.
“This audience is not coming to a TV taping,” said Smith prior to the show. Smith had two other Presidential Galas and three Democratic National Conventions under his belt at the time. “This is one of the most formidable entertainment events that occur every four years.”