If you are looking for some scintillating tales from behind the closed doors of The White House, At Your Service, Mr. President! is not the show for you. If you wish to know about the behind the scene workings of state dinners and other presidential functions from a former White House butler, then Alan DeValerio is just the guy to fulfill that wish.
DeValerio started as a White House butler after coming to DC with an interest in political cartoons. His first job was working a party for the Carter administration shortly after Jimmy Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan. He went on to work in his butler position for about ten years ending just after George H. W. Bush came into office.
…the evening is definitely worth a view and listen.
DeValerio relays stories about how he had served some big show-business types like Frank Sinatra. Sinatra insisted that the wait staff be allowed to watch the entertainment. That is unheard of, so it gives you an idea of how Sinatra really was as a person. He also talks about how he came to know Gene Allen, who was the inspiration for the movie The Butler, and about working with longtime maitre d’ John Ficklin, whose family has been working at the White House for over 80 years. DeValerio has also written a book about his experiences called A History of Entertainment in the Modern White House.
The show itself feels a little bit more like a literary event than a theatrical presentation. After all, DeValerio just stands there and delivers his stories, but he is so likable that it’s OK he isn’t a trained performer. When the material engages the audience, you forget about everything else.
Check At Your Service, Mr. President! out if you can. It’s an interesting look at the inner workings of the most important building in DC and with Alan DeValerio as our guide; the evening is definitely worth a view and listen.
Running Time: 50 minutes, including a brief Q & A following the presentation.
At Your Service, Mr. President! runs through July 26th 2015 at the Argonaut, located at 1433 H Street, NE, Washington, DC.
For tickets, click here.
For info on Capital Fringe, click here.