The 36th annual Kennedy Center Honors will fete actress Shirley MacLaine, pianist/singer/songwriter Billy Joel, musician/songwriter Carlos Santana, opera singer Martina Arroyo, and pianist/band leader/composer Herbie Hancock, CBS announced this morning. The annual event at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has been broadcast on CBS every year since its debut 36 years ago; this year’s broadcast will air Sunday, December 29, from 9-11 PM. From today’s announcement: READ MORE »
Greeting the Kennedy Center honorees tonight at a pre-ceremony reception at the White House, President Obama entered the East Room to cheers and applause, and said “Welcome to the White House on a night when I am nowhere close to being the main attraction.” The honorees are surviving members of Led Zeppelin John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant; ballerina Natalia Makarova, Dave Letterman, Dustin Hoffman and Buddy Guy. Obama praised the Kennedy Center trustees and recognized President Kennedy’s daughter Caroline who was seated next to First Lady Michelle Obama in the audience. CBS will broadcast a two-hour special covering the Kennedy Center Honors on December 26th. Here is an edited and condensed version of Obama’s remarks tonight from the pool report:
“None of this would be possible without the co-chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities,” the President said, singling out “George Stevens and his son Michael who have produced the Kennedy Center Honors for 35 years now.”
“Tonight, we continue a tradition here at the White House by honoring some extraordinary people who have no business being on the same stage together. We’ve got Buddy Guy sitting next to Dustin Hoffman. We’ve got Dave Letterman alongside one of the greatest ballerinas of all time. I don’t think Dave dances. All three living members of Led Zeppelin in one place — so this is a remarkable evening.”
“Tonight’s honorees didn’t just take up their crafts to make a living. They did it because they couldn’t imagine living any other way. That passion took each of them from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of their profession. Tonight, in the People’s House, we have a chance to say thank you.”
The Kennedy Center Honors will mark 40 years on CBS. The network has signed a new agreement with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that will keep the annual Kennedy Center Honors on CBS through 2018. The special has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut in 1978. “The Kennedy Center Honors continues to be one of the most prestigious broadcasts on all of television, and we are honored to be its host,” said CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves. “It is a unique event that reinforces our country’s collective appreciation for the performing arts with tremendous class, style and, yes, entertainment.” The Kennedy Center Honorees are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts — dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television.
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