command performance

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command performance (plural command performances)

  1. (archaic) A dramatic, musical, or similar entertainment performed before a monarch or other head of state, especially in a circumstance where that ruler has requested or ordered the performance.
    • c. 1900, Richard Harding Davis, "Billy and the Big Stick":
      "I've been giving a ‘command’ performance for the president," explained the actor modestly.
    • 1974 Feb. 4, "People," Time:
      Following a 1973 White House command performance and a TV special, Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back, Sinatra made his first nightclub appearance in three years at Las Vegas' Caesars Palace.
    • 1998 Oct. 4, Alvin Klein, "Theater: A Potential New Star For an Ever-Rarer Art," New York Times (retrieved 11 Oct 2011):
      And he won't let his audience forget that he was part of a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II in June.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension) A task, activity, or other assignment which one undertakes in order to satisfy someone in authority, such as an employer.
    • 2002, Susan Wittig Albert, Indigo Dying (2004 Penguin edition), →ISBN, p. 26:
      Some big client of Arthur's is coming to town, and Sally is supposed to entertain the man's wife. She says it's a command performance.