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The 2020 Kennedy Center Honors

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  • Anton Spivack
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    Now that this year’s Honors have been held, who do you think should get them next year? My picks are:

    Dick Van Dyke
    Joan Baez
    Berry Gordy
    Renee Fleming
    Burt Bacharach

    Do you like these choices?

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    vinny
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    My top 5 choices:
    1) Betty White
    2) Berry Gordy
    3) Harrison Ford
    4) Kenny Rogers
    5)Joan Baez

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    Emmyfan
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    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.

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    Rich Landry
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    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.

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    keithw
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    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.

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    Nate
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    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.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Nate.
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    Anton Spivack
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    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:

    Betty White
    Joan Baez
    Dick Van Dyke
    Carlisle Floyd
    Berry Gordy

    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.

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    vinny
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    I could watch the Sesame Street tribute all day and always smile 🙂

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    Anton Spivack
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    I’ve come up with twelve more worthy recipients:

    Lorne Michaels
    Ellen Degeneres
    Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Kathleen Battle
    Audra MacDonald
    Andre de Shields
    Garth Brooks
    Patti LaBelle
    Quentin Tarantino
    Tom Stoppard
    Glenn Close
    Francis Ford Coppola

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    Emmyfan
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    Someone needs to get to the committee and tell them that Betty White must happen.

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    Anton Spivack
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    I’ve revised this year’s picks:
    Betty White
    Joan Baez
    Tommy Tune
    Carlisle Floyd
    Berry Gordy

    For next year:
    Dick Van Dyke
    Arturo Sandoval
    Shirley Caesar
    Cynthia Gregory
    Burt Bacharach

    And the year after that:
    Joni Mitchell
    David Mamet
    Charley Pride
    Meredith Monk
    Johnny Mathis

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Anton Spivack.
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