Friday, September 10, 2010

The Kennedy Center Honors

Over the years, the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC has become one of the foremost institutions for the Performing Arts in the nation. In terms of theatre, I will even venture to guess that it has done more for the art form than any institution away from Broadway. In 1978, the first Kennedy Center Honors were bestowed upon 5 people who had contributed greatly to the performing arts and therefore, enlivened American culture. The tradition as continued every December since 1978 and the annual ceremonies have given us countless memorable performances and many that I hold near and dear to my own heart. One of the most special for me, in recent memory, was the tribute to Dolly Parton, who as I have mentioned many times, is one of the 3 performers that I truly idolize. Her life story was introduced by Reba McEntire, another great lady in country music, who ultimately concluded with the tried and true statement "there ain't nobody like Dolly Parton". The following performance, Alison Krauss singing "Jolene" was a particular highlight of that broadcast for me.

I'm going to try to include a comprehensive list of all of the honorees from the past 30 years. Please inform me if I forget anybody and I will add them to the list! I'm also going to include a small list at the end of artists who I think are deserving of being honored by The Kennedy Center in the near future.

1978: Marian Anderson, Fred Astaire, George Balanchine, Richard Rodgers, Arthur Rubeinstein
1979: Aaron Copland, Ella Fitzgerald, Henry Fonda, Martha Graham, Tennessee Williams
1980: Leonard Bernstein, James Cagney, Agnes de Mille, Lynn Fontanne, Leontyne Price
1981: Count Basie, Cary Grant, Helen Hayes, Jerome Robbins, Rudolf Serkin
1982: George Abbott, Lillian Girsh, Benny Goodman, Gene Kelly, Eugene Ormandy
1983: Katherine Dunham, Elia Kazan, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, Virgil Thompson
1984: Lena Horne, Danny Kaye, Gian Carolo Menotti, Arthur Miller, Isaac Stern
1985: Merce Cunningham, Irene Dunne, Bob Hope, Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe, Beverly Sills
1986: Lucille Ball, Hume Cronyn & Jessica Tandy, Yehudi Menuhin, Antony Tudor, Ray Charles
1987: Perry Como, Bette Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Nathan Milstein, Alwin Nikolais
1988: Alvin, Ailey, George Burns, Myrna Loy, Alexander Schneider, Roger L. Stevens
1989: Harry Belafonte, Claudette Colbert, Alexandra Danilova, Mary Martin, William Schuman
1990: Dizzy Gillespie, Katharine Hepburn, Rise Stevens, Jule Styne, Billy Wilder
1991: Roy Acuff, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Fayard & Harold Nicholas, Gregory Peck, Robert Shaw
1992: Lionel Hampton, Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward, Ginger Rodgers, Mstislav Rostropovich, Paul Taylor
1993: Johnny Carson, Arthur Mitchell, Geog Solti, Stephen Sondehim, Marion Williams
1994: Kirk Douglas, Aretha Franklin, Morton Gould, Harold Prince, Pete Seeger
1995: Jacques d'Amboise, Marilyn Horne, BB Kind, Sidney Poitier, Neil Simon
1996: Edward Albee, Benny Carter, Johnny Cash, Jack Lemmon, Maria Talchief
1997: Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, Charlton Heston, Jessye Norman, Edward Vilella
1998: Bill Cosby, Fred Ebb & John Kander, Willie Nelson, Andre Previn, Shirley Temple Black
1999: Victor Borge, Sean Connery, Judith Jamison, Jason Robards, Stevie Wonder
2000: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Chuck Berry, Placido Domingo, Clint Eastwood, Angela Lansbury
2001: Julie Andrews, Van Cliburn, Quincy Jones, Jack Nicholson, Luciano Pavarotti
2002: James Earl Jones, James Levine, Chita Rivera, Paul Simon, Elizabeth Taylor
2003: James Brown, Carol Burnett, Loretta Lynn, Mike Nichols, Itzhak Perlman
2004: Warren Beatty, Ossie Davies & Ruby Dee, Elton John, Joan Sutherland, John Williams
2005: Tony Bennett, Suzanne Farrell, Julie Harris, Robert Redford, Tina Turner
2006: Zubin Mehta, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson, Steven Spielberg, Andrew Lloyd Webber
2007: Leon Fleisher, Steve Martin, Diana Ross, Martin Scorsese, Brian Wilson
2008: Morgan Freeman, George Jones, Barbra Streisand, Twyla Tharp, Pete Townshend & Roger Daltrey
2009: Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen
2010: Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman, Bill T.Jones, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey
My Picks for Upcoming Ceremonies: Burt Bacharach, Barbara Cook, Renee Flemming, Billy Joel, Jerry Lee Lewis, Patti LuPone, Reba McEntire, Bette Midler, Mark Morris, Al Pacino, Bernadette Peters, Hal Prince, Meryl Streep, Betty White

1 comment:

  1. The 2002 honores was Elizabeth Taylor nor Elizabeth Peralman whoever she is you really should correct this.