Colin Powell Breaks Into Song

Former Secretary of State sings West Side Story tune at gala.


Former Secretary of State Colin Powell channeled Broadway star Chita Rivera at a recent gala at the State Department, breaking into song while recounting a memory from his time in office. 

Powell said that upon meeting the star of West Side Story, he gave Rivera a scare by telling her she'd created a big headache for him. "I went on and I said, it comes in every single day. Cable, after cable, after cable, they're complaining about all the lines in front of the embassies," Powell said in a serious tone. "And when they get to the front of the line, they're all saying the same thing."

[Read Robert Schlesinger, Mort Zuckerman, and other opinion writers in U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.]

Then the normally composed retired general began to sing, dancing with his hands in the air as he adapted a line from the hit musical: "We want to come to America!" The audience, which included former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright and the evening's host, current Secretary Hillary Clinton, roared with laughter.

The event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms and the completion of the Patrons of Diplomacy endowment campaign.

  • See a photo gallery of Bush’s legacy.
  • Check out a roundup of editorial cartoons on the economy.
  • Read Susan Milligan: Dick Cheney's Book Is Less Memoir Than Caricature