Award-winning talents Idina Menzel and Forest Whitaker shared a moment backstage at The Kennedy Center Gala Celebrating the Human Spirit.
Singer and actress Idina Menzel has a presence—one that transcends the stage and screen, and touches her audience on a personal level. The same can be said of actor Forest Whitaker, whose sense of character deeply connects to those watching him take on each role. And both icons were special guests at The Kennedy Center GalaCelebrating the Human Spirit, which raised more than $1 million for arts and education programs. Menzel took the stage, and Whitaker was honored as a Citizen Artist. The soiree presented other highlights too—think dinner in the Terrace, a main event that also recognized Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan as Distinguished Philanthropists, and an afterparty complete with music by DJ D-Nice. But we were particularly impressed by Whitaker’s efforts (he is the founder of his Peace & Development Initiative) and Menzel’s showstopping performance. Not only did she belt out her hits, from “Let It Go” to “Defying Gravity,” but she also kicked off her designer heels and invited burgeoning talents to sing with her. And she delivered a rendition of “I Melt With You” that was slow and sweet, and completely unique to her—and captured the spirit of the night too.