Today I received a news release from the Kennedy Center announcing this year's recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors:
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the selection, by its board of trustees, of the individuals who will receive the Kennedy Center Honors of 2005. Recipients to be honored at the 28th annual national celebration of the arts are: singer Tony Bennett; dancer and teacher Suzanne Farrell; actress Julie Harris; actor, director and producer Robert Redford; and singer Tina Turner.
“We honor five extraordinary American artists whose unique and abundant contributions to our culture have transformed our lives,” said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman. “Tony Bennett is a brilliant musician and singer’s singer whom even the great Frank Sinatra called the best there is; Suzanne Farrell’s profound artistry has inspired the creation of masterpieces and is teaching ballet to a new generation; for half a century, the enchanting Julie Harris has been one of this country’s most acclaimed and revered actors; Robert Redford is an actor/director whose extraordinary support of independent film has had an immeasurable impact on filmmakers and audiences alike; and Tina Turner’s sizzling talent and indomitable spirit has made her one of the world’s best-loved entertainers.”
The annual Honors Gala has become the highlight of the Washington cultural year. The 2005 Honorees will be saluted by stars from the world of the performing arts at a gala performance in the Kennedy Center's Opera House on Sunday evening, December 4, to be attended by the President of the United States and Mrs. Bush, and by artists from around the world.
The President and the First Lady will receive the Honorees and members of the Artists Committee, who nominate them, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees at the White House prior to the gala performance. The 2005 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a supper dance in the Grand Foyer.
The Kennedy Center Honors will be bestowed the night before the gala on Saturday, December 3, at a State Department dinner, hosted by the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast later in December on the CBS Network for the 28th consecutive year as a two-hour prime time special.
George Stevens, Jr., who created the Honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff, will produce and co-write the show for the 28th year. The Honors telecast has been honored with five Emmy’s for Outstanding Program as well as the Peabody Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television.
Delta Air Lines, the official airline of the Kennedy Center Honors, will provide transportation for the performers and television crew that will be coming to Washington for the Honors Gala. Boeing is proud to underwrite the Kennedy Center Honorees’ Luncheon and special events throughout the Kennedy Center Honors weekend.
The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts: whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.
Members of the Kennedy Center’s national artists committee, as well as past Honorees, made recommendations of possible Honorees. Among the artists making recommendations were: Jane Alexander, Christine Baranski, Angela Bassett, Harolyn Blackwell, Dave Brubeck, Glenn Close, Barbara Cook, Renee Fleming, Larry Gelbart, Rosemary Harris, Paloma Herrera, Bill Irwin, Joseph Kalichstein, John Lithgow, Patti Lupone, Rob Marshall, Terrence McNally, Sherrill Milnes, Christopher Plummer, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Marian Seldes, Meryl Streep, Frederica von Stade, Pinchas Zukerman. Previous Kennedy Center Honorees Julie Andrews, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Angela Lansbury, Paul Newman, Harold Prince and Joan Sutherland also made nominations.
Michael M. Kaiser, President of the Center, expressed the national cultural center’s gratitude to the many individuals involved in the success of the Honors program. “In addition to recognizing our most treasured artists, the Kennedy Center Honors also extensively support the many performing arts initiatives, education and public service programming, and national outreach effort, Performing Arts for Everyone, that make the Center’s presentations accessible to all.”