Stephen M. Silverman
March 04, 2002 11:28 AM

Sunday’s star-studded, bipartisan lineup at the American Celebration at Ford’s Theater in the nation’s capital included Kelsey Grammer, John Spencer, Stevie Wonder, David Copperfield and Mandy Moore on stage and President Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Sen. Tom Daschle, Sam Donaldson and Debbie Allen among those in the audience, reports PEOPLE. The annual event, which traditionally draws the sitting president, raises money for the historic playhouse, the site where Abraham Lincoln was shot in 1865 and where today musicals are presented. “I’m a Democrat by birth, but I’m an American first and foremost,” John Spencer, 55, from NBC’s “The West Wing,” told PEOPLE before the festivities kicked off. Dennis Franz of “NYPD Blue” was one step ahead of Spencer for already having met President Bush. “He’s much taller than I expected,” said Franz, 57, “and his wife’s pictures don’t do her justice. She’s much more attractive in person.” The TV star praised Bush, saying, “It’s quite an honor to meet him . . . . It fills me (with) pride and enthusiasm.” Not that this was Franz’s first appearance at the event. “This is my second time to the Ford’s Theater celebration,” he told PEOPLE. “The first time was about four or five years ago, during the Clinton administration. It’s just a very memorable trip and memorable occasion for us to be involved in, particularly this year. I felt a real desire to be here and be a part of this one.” The event is set to air at a later date on ABC.

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