(CBS local) – The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced the selection of five recipients to receive the 44th Kennedy Center Honors for Lifetime Achievement.
The winners, who will be honored at the annual National Celebration of the Arts in Washington DC, are: Opera bass baritone Justino Díaz; Motown founder, songwriter, producer and director Berry Gordy; Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels; legendary stage and screen icon Bette Midler; and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. These artists will be honored during the 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, which will air on the CBS Television Network and streamed live and on-demand on Paramount + during the 2021-2022 television season. CBS has aired the special every year since it debuted 44 years ago.
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“The Kennedy Center Honors honor luminaries whose art and creativity have enriched us beyond measure,” said David M. Rubenstein, chairman of the Kennedy Center. “Justino Díaz stood on the stages of the great opera houses of the world with his outstanding, deep-sounding voice and his historic opera career and is now considered one of the greatest bass baritones of our time; Visionary record producer and songwriter Berry Gordy brought the quintessential Detroit soul to every home in America and made the Motown sound a national treasure; With “Saturday Night Live” Lorne Michaels created the most consistent must-see television program, a show that is both a mirror and a muse for life in America; Bette Midler is an artistic tour de force and America’s divine Miss M. Bette Midler has had an unrivaled and productive career and has entertained millions with her wonderful voice and her signature comedic wit; and singer Joni Mitchell, combines raw, deeply personal lyrics with her breathtakingly ethereal voice on 19 albums and becomes one of the most influential singer-songwriters and cultural figures in 20th century pop music.
“This year’s honorees represent the unifying power of the arts and certainly remind us of what unites us as people. These artists are genius, inspiration and entertainment in equal measure, ”said Deborah F. Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center. “After the challenges and heartbreak of the past few months, and as we celebrate 50 years of the Kennedy Center, I dare to add that we are ready to have the ‘Party to End All Parties’ on December 5th in DC and celebrate these extraordinary people and welcome the audience back to our campus. We look forward to creating an even more exciting Honors program and broadcasting it with CBS and the producers based on the success and newly discovered innovations of our 43rd Honors earlier this year. “
In a high-profile celebration on the stage of the Kennedy Center Opera House on December 5th, those honored will be greeted by today’s leading artists from New York, Hollywood and the world’s art capitals. Once again seated in the box of the legendary Kennedy Center Opera House, the winners will receive the recognition and gratitude of their colleagues through performances and honors.
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ABOUT THE KENNEDY CENTER HONORS
Honors recipients are recognized for their contributions to American culture through the performing arts – whether in music, dance, theater, opera, film, or television – and are recognized by the Executive Committee of the Centre’s Board of Trustees. The main criterion in the selection process is excellence. The awards are not named after art form or category of artistic achievement; The selection process over the years has resulted in a balance between the various arts and artistic disciplines.
The award winner selection process involves seeking recommendations from the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, the artist community, and the public. This year’s award winners were selected on the recommendation of the Center’s Special Honors Advisory Committee, chaired by David Bohnett and including previous honors including David M. Rubenstein, Deborah F. Rutter, Michael Lombardo, Cappy McGarr, and Shonda Rhimes Notable artists Julie Andrews, Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Judith Jamison, and John Williams. These people play a critical role in the evaluation and selection process, and the Kennedy Center is indebted to them for their dedication.
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Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment will produce the special for the seventh time in a row. Weiss returns as a director. The founding producer of the Kennedy Center Honors is George Stevens, Jr.