Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Frasier's' Niles Goes to Washington

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Frasier's' Niles Goes to Washington

Article excerpt

'Frasier'

When: 8 tonight

Where: Channel 5

THIS time around, David Hyde Pierce can expect a warmer Washington reception.

The last time Pierce was in the nation's capital, he was working on Oliver Stone's "Nixon," the new anti-hagiography that cast Pierce as Nixon nemesis John Dean. Ideal casting, yet it's not exactly the kind of role that gets you a warm embrace from the powers-that-be.

This week, however, Pierce goes to Washington, not to bring down a president but to cheer one up. He and fellow "Frasier" stars Kelsey Grammer, John Mahoney, Jane Leeves and Peri Gilpin will host NBC's "Christmas in Washington," a TV concert featuring Clint Black, Gloria Estefan and Al Green. The invited audience will include the president and first lady - until the end, that is, when the first couple will join the performers on stage for a final round of Christmas carols.

"I'm told we're going to be singing," Pierce says nervously during a pre-trip interview at NBC's Burbank headquarters, "but I think that's because they haven't heard us yet.

"It's not that we can't sing them, it's just that people might not want to hear us sing them. But by God, they're gonna."

A prodigiously talented actor, Pierce has finally won the attention - and the Emmy - he deserves as "Frasier's" preternaturally effete brother, Niles. In person, he does mirror something of Niles' wit and refinement, but with none of his character's pomposity or pretensions.

"I was watching the tape of last year's special, and that was the unbelievable thing. You're watching, and you think, `There's the president and the first lady,' and then you think `Oh my God; there's the president and the first lady!' It will be a great honor."

Along with the honor, he and the cast will get a televised tour of the White House, led by Mrs. Clinton. ("We all had to turn over our Social Security numbers - and several cast members disappeared immediately. …

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