The list of 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees was announced this morning. This year's class includes Barbara Cook (Theatre Actress/Cabaret Singer), Meryl Streep (Actress), Neil Diamond (Singer/Songwriter), Yo-Yo Ma (Cellist), and Sonny Rollins (Saxophonist/Composer). The ceremony will take place Sunday December 4th. I love to anticipate who will perform for the honorees and because I'm a big Barbara Cook fan and I know who the Kennedy Center typically asks to perform for these things, I think I pretty much have it figured out. Kristin Chenoweth will likely sing "Glitter and Be Gay," a song made famous by Cook in the role of Cunegonde in the original Broadway production of Candide. If we get another song from Candide it will be the finale "Make Our Garden Grow" as a duet between the likes of Patrick Wilson and Audra McDonald.Perhaps her most famous role, Cook also originated, and won the 1957 Tony award for playing Marian Paroo in The Music Man. We'll certainly hear a medley of those famous Meredith Willson songs so expect performances from Broadway's leading sopranos such as Kelli O'Hara, Laura Benanti, or more plausibly Rebecca Luker who played Marian in the 2000 revival. We could also get a plug for Arena Stage's upcoming production of the show with a performance by their leading lady, and Tony nominee, Kate Baldwin. Cook is considered one of the finest interpreters of Stephen Sondheim's music and her signature song is "In Buddy's Eyes" from the musical Follies which just happens to be playing on Broadway now. In the show, the song is performed by Sally, currently played by fellow Sondheim Diva Bernadette Peters......so you do the math.
As for the other honorees, well I haven't gotten that far, but check back as I'll certainly make more predictions as the ceremony draws closer!