You’d think the mega musical “Hamilton” might be cooling off a bit by now, but rest assured, that Broadway production is bigger than ever and tickets remain sky high. The historic rave rapping musical is on deck to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center honor.
“I believe that this is a work that has transformed how we think about using art to talk about who we are as a society,” said Deborah F. Rutter, the president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. “It’s the first time in 41 years the award has been given to a company as well as an individual. Those totally talented folks include songbird Reba McEntire, cutting edge composer Philip Glass, saxman Wayne Shorter and Malibu’s longtime diva, Cher.
“I am very grateful to the Kennedy Center,” the iconic “Do you Believe” hit maker said in a public statement. The annual Washington distinction is given to artists who have made extraordinary contributions to American culture.
“Cher is the consummate star, wowing generations of fans with her distinctive voice, blockbuster albums and glittering on-screen presence; Philip Glass is a modern-day Mozart whose works across opera, symphony, chamber music and film define contemporary music and simply transfix us; country songstress Reba McEntire has inspired us over five decades with her powerhouse voice and music that conveys heartfelt and heartwarming honesty; Wayne Shorter is a seminal artist, defying categorization while carrying forward the mantle of jazz; and the creators of ‘Hamilton’ have literally and figuratively changed the face of American culture and history with daringly original, breathtakingly relevant work,” Rutter has said.
WILL HE OR WON’T HE?
Though typically a nonpartisan event, and one of the highlights of the Washington social calendar, the ceremony has become more and more politicized in recent years.
In 2016, a couple of the honorees, including the television producer Norman Lear, skipped the event, expressing discomfort with President Trump and the first lady, Melania. Mr. Trump notoriously passed on this year’s Correspondent’s Dinner, which celebrates freedom of the press. And everyone has an opinion on this year’s KCH.
“This president ignores the arts; no one has ignored them as he has,” Glass has said. “It wasn’t ignored under Kennedy, under Nixon, under the Bushes. This is a break from that, and to me, it’s disappointing.”
One thing’s for sure: The evening will be full of surprises. And if you don’t mind a little old fashioned ribbing, it’s always a good time. Previous lifetime achievement recipients include “Cats” creator Andrew Lloyd Weber, Boss Bruce Springsteen, classic crooner Frank Sinatra, thespian Angela Lansbuy, Ms. R-E-S-P-E-C-T Aretha Franklin, as well as local superstars Barbra Streisand, Mr. Tambourine Man Bob Dylan, Beach Boys Brian Wilson and “The Graduate’s” Dustin Hoffman.
The Kennedy Center Honors will take place Dec. 2. So stay tuned. You never know who you may or ... may not ... see.