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December 10, 2019 at 1:44 pm #1203229585
Now that this year’s Honors have been held, who do you think should get them next year? My picks are:
Dick Van Dyke
Do you like these choices?December 11, 2019 at 7:36 am #1203230996
My top 5 choices:
1) Betty White
2) Berry Gordy
3) Harrison Ford
4) Kenny Rogers
5)Joan BaezDecember 16, 2019 at 7:26 pm #1203241087
Let’s just hope that they do not get The Jonas Brother to come in and screw up the tribute by not knowing the words as well as being a poor choice for anyone’s tribute.December 17, 2019 at 7:00 am #1203241562
Agreed, this year’s awards were a snoozefest. These honorees had way more potential. I felt bad for Sally for how lackluster her honor was.December 17, 2019 at 7:34 am #1203241584
During Sally Field’s presentation I was thinking how much “life” Dolly Parton would have brought to it. Dolly or a couple of the “Steel Magnolias” actresses would have been a nice addition.December 17, 2019 at 8:45 am #1203241644
Field herself noted how her career as an actor didn’t lend itself to a flashier presentation, but I’m glad she received the honor anyway. The tributes to Lear, Pacino, and many others in recent memory also were more subdued in comparison to more musical honorees. But what could they have done, have someone sing (Wait ‘Til You See) My Gidget or Who Needs Wings to Fly? Even her movies don’t have much musicality. Parton must have had a prior commitment, because she would have a welcome addition to either Field’s or Ronstadt’s presentation.
As for next year, I think that nonagenarians White and Van Dyke, as well as Carl Reiner, would be great to honor, and probably would add a little more musical comedy to the evening. Burt Bacharach is also in his 90s and is long overdue. Some more stage performers would be nice, but it looks like the committee has leaned toward pop performers to balance out the evening more, so The Rolling Stones and Gladys Knight could definitely be in the mix as well.December 17, 2019 at 10:23 am #1203241766
I agree the KCH leans too heavily on pop music. Also they should give more than one of the five slots to someone in opera, dance or classical music. Why not honor both an opera star and a choreographer in the same year like they used to?
I agree that Lear’s tribute was lacking, I would have suggested a gospel choir singing the themes to his shows, such as Those Were the Days and Movin’ On Up. However I did like MTT’s tribute, with everyone joining in on “I Got Rhythm.”
Chris Beachum’s piece on the 50 people who should be selected doesn’t include any opera personalities, why not? Surely they should recognize Renee Fleming or Frederica Von Stade? And what about Mark Morris? On my website I’ve listed 40 worthy potential honorees:
Dick Van Dyke: He’s 94 years old, it’s about time he got the honor. He’s distinguished himself in theatre, film and TV, and has been performing for over seven decades.
Betty White: Another longtime TV veteran, who’s turning 98 next month, it’s time she receive some recognition.
Burt Bacharach: One of the all-time great composers in popular music, who has written dozens if not hundreds of standards. He’ll be 92 next year, just pointing it out.
Tommy Tune: A true Broadway legend, who has been acting, singing, dancing, directing and choreographing for over five decades.
Joan Baez: There has been a push to include more Hispanic honorees, why not the First Lady of Folk Music?
Joni Mitchell: And while we’re on the subject, how about another great pioneering woman in popular music?
Eric Clapton: Maybe he’s not God, but he’s still one of the all-time great rock guitarists, and the only person to have been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times.
Arturo Sandoval: A truly accomplished trumpet player who has excelled with jazz, Latin jazz and classical music.
Berry Gordy, Jr.: You’ve honored Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson, why not the actual founder of Motown Records?
Whoopi Goldberg: Not that she’s wanting for awards, having won an EGOT, but still she’s one of the most insightful and sincere actress/comedians around.
Cynthia Gregory: A former prima ballerina who continues to choreograph and coach to this day.
Spike Lee: One of the most distinctive voices in film, he illuminated the African-American experience and brought it to the mainstream.
Jane Fonda: She redefined the role of women in Hollywood, plus it would be interesting to see the daughter of a former Honoree receive the Honors herself.
Renee Fleming: It’s been five years since they honored someone in opera. Fleming has done it all, performing all around the world with one of the most distinguished voices of all time.
Frederica Von Stade: Another opera legend, she has performed at the KCH numerous times and continues to sing to this day.
David Mamet: They haven’t honored a playwright since Edward Albee in 1996 (unless you count Ossie Davis in 2004), and as a dramatist myself I’m concerned. Mamet is one of the most influential living playwrights, known for his distinctive style of dialogue.
Charley Pride: One of the few African-Americans to achieve mainstream success in country music and cross over into pop.
The Rolling Stones: Some consider them the greatest rock group ever, so why haven’t they been honored yet?
Shirley Caesar: One of the most influential gospel singers of all time, who has been performing for over six decades.
Liza Minelli: A truly iconic and distinguished performer in Broadway and cabaret.
Bette Midler: Another great actress/singer, she has distinguished herself in film, music and comedy.
Johnny Mathis: One of the all-time greats of traditional pop, and he’s become synonymous with the holiday season.
Carlisle Floyd: Composer of opera with a distinct American voice, such as Susannah.
Pinchas Zukerman: An acclaimed violinist, conductor and mentor to young musicians.
Michael Caine: One of the most professional and versatile actors in the history of film.
Savion Glover: He changed the face of tap dancing and made it African-Americans’ own.
Mark Morris: One of the most prominent names in modern dance, who has also branched out into ballet and opera.
Alan Menken: The musical composer who gave a mermaid a voice, a man-eating plant an attitude, and a beast a soul.
Stephen Schwartz: The top musical theatre composer of the Baby Boomer generation, whose scores have been sung the world over.
Tony Kushner: A major playwright and activist dealing with social issues, he is the American prophet whose great work has graced our stages for nearly four decades.
Kiri Te Kanawa: A world-renowned opera star of almost five decades.
Jodie Foster: She has empowered women throughout her film career, in front of and behind the camera.
Queen Latifah: A true pioneer for women in hip-hop, and a scene-stealing actress.
Madonna: The queen of pop and goddess of reinvention.
Cyndi Lauper: Another titan of 80s pop, who showed a vibrant personality as she broke ground for women in music and musical theatre.
Alan Alda: An acclaimed actor of stage and screen for decades, creating characters with heart and wit.
Bill Irwin: He redefined clown and mime through decades of original work.
Michael Feinstein: An acclaimed impresario and ambassador of the Great American Songbook.
Wynton Marsalis: One of the nation’s leading jazz performers and educators for years.
Bernadette Peters: A true Broadway icon who became the leading Stephen Sondheim interpreter.
I’ve updated my list of possible honorees for next year:
Dick Van Dyke
And though I don’t condone Bill Cosby’s actions, I still don’t think his KCH should have been rescinded, considering he earned it.December 17, 2019 at 2:45 pm #1203242111
I could watch the Sesame Street tribute all day and always smile 🙂January 5, 2020 at 7:08 pm #1203263461
I’ve come up with twelve more worthy recipients:
Andre de Shields
Francis Ford CoppolaJanuary 6, 2020 at 8:47 pm #1203267180
Someone needs to get to the committee and tell them that Betty White must happen.January 9, 2020 at 1:21 pm #1203272616
I’ve revised this year’s picks:
For next year:
Dick Van Dyke
And the year after that:
And the next year:
Frederica Von Stade
The Rolling Stones
And the next year:
Kiri Te Kanawa
Eric ClaptonFebruary 4, 2020 at 7:23 pm #1203330345
Updated January 22, 2021
It seems they don’t focus as much on the fine arts as they used to. Here’s how many honorees each year came primarily from the fine arts (opera, dance and classical music):
1978 – 3 (Marian Anderson,George Balanchine and Arthur Rubinstein)
1979 – 2 (Aaron Copland and Martha Graham)
1980 – 3 (Leonard Bernstein, Agnes de Mille and Leontyne Price)
1981 – 2 (Jerome Robbins and Rudolf Serkin)
1982 – 1 (Eugene Ormandy)
1983 – 2 (Katherine Dunham and Virgil Thomson)
1984 – 2 (Isaac Stern and Gian Carlo Menotti)
1985 – 2 (Beverly Sills and Merce Cunningham)
1986 – 2 (Antony Tudor and Yehudi Menuhin)
1987 – 2 (Alwin Nikolais and Nathan Milstein)
1988 – 2 (Alvin Ailey and Alexander Schneider)
1989 – 2 (Alexandra Danilova and William Schuman)
1990 – 1 (Risë Stevens)
1991 – 1 (Robert Shaw)
1992 – 2 (Paul Taylor and Mstislav Rostropovich)
1993 – 2 (Arthur Mitchell and Georg Solti)
1994 – 1 (Morton Gould)
1995 – 2 (Jacques d’Amboise and Marilyn Horne)
1996 – 1 (Maria Tallchief)
1997 – 2 (Jessye Norman and Edward Villella)
1998 – 1 (André Previn)
1999 – 2 (Judith Jamison and Victor Borge)
2000 – 2 (Plácido Domingo and Mikhail Baryshnikov)
2001 – 2 (Van Cliburn and Luciano Pavarotti)
2002 – 1 (James Levine)
2003 – 1 (Itzhak Perlman)
2004 – 2 (John Williams and Joan Sutherland)
2005 – 1 (Suzanne Farrell)
2006 – 1 (Zubin Mehta)
2007 – 1 (Leon Fleisher)
2008 – 1 (Twyla Tharp)
2009 – 1 (Grace Bumbry)
2010 – 1 (Bill T. Jones)
2011 – 1 (Yo-Yo Ma)
2012 – 1 (Natalia Makarova)
2013 – 1 (Martina Arroyo)
2014 – 1 (Patricia McBride)
2015 – 1 (Seiji Ozawa)
2016 – 1 (Martha Argerich)
2017 – 1 (Carmen de Lavallade)
2018 – 1 (Philip Glass)
2019 – 1 (Michael Tilson Thomas)
2020 – 2 (Debbie Allen, Midori)
I think the KCH should celebrate the type of performance for which the center was built. It needs more opera singers, composers, jazz musicians, choreographers and playwrights and fewer pop stars, Hollywood actors and talk show hosts.February 5, 2020 at 8:42 am #1203330994
Glenn CloseFebruary 5, 2020 at 10:52 am #1203331250
I have nothing against Glenn Close receiving the KCH, I’m just saying we should have more people from the fine arts.April 1, 2020 at 7:49 pm #1203405780
Unfortunately Kenny Rogers is no longer eligible.
I would like to see Stephen Schwartz receive the Honors. Since he wrote lyrics for Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, the first piece performed at the Kennedy Center, they should include one of the songs he wrote, such as “A Simple Song.”
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