Kennedy Center Honors salute Garth Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Allen
WASHINGTON – Garth Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Allen, Joan Baez and violinist Midori were greeted on Sunday evening at the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors broadcast, a scaled-down event that had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Normally, the medallion ceremony takes place at the State Department, but this year it was moved to the Kennedy Center Opera House, with around 120 people spread out at tables on the stage and backstage watching the rows of seats. empty.
Singer Gloria Estefan hosted the ceremony and cellist Yo Yo Ma performed, both of whom are former recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors. Kelly Clarkson sang a rendition of Brooks’ song “The Dance,” as the country music icon became emotional with audiences as she sat next to his wife and fellow country singer Trisha Yearwood.
Instead of the usual multi-hour black-tie event followed by dinner, the festivities were taped in late May with limited audiences and aired Sunday on CBS. The musical performances and tributes – traditionally the centerpiece of the event – were split into two nights and fitted into the TV special.
(LR) Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Dick Van Dyke, Garth Brooks and Midori Goto pose during the 43rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center on May 21, 2021 in Washington, DC (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP via Getty Images)
In his introduction to Brooks, actor Bradley Cooper noted that despite all of his successes, the country singer has “remained the most humble man you have ever met,” according to Hollywood journalist.
âThere’s country music, rock, gospel, honky-tonk – and then there’s Garth Brooks. Garth is a powerful hitter, who has swayed the barriers and shattered the barriers between musical genres, forever widening country music vocabulary and American culture changing, âsays Cooper.
Jackson Browne introduced fellow singer-songwriter Baez and noted how folk singers in the 1960s were instrumental in bringing about change in the United States, the outlet reported. Country singer Sturgill Simpson paid tribute to Baez by performing his song “House of the Rising Sun”.
Baez brought an unexpected guest to the events: Dr Anthony Fauci. The singer-songwriter paints portraits and posts them online, and she painted one of Fauci in 2020. They started talking and “created a mutual fan-ship,” Baez said.
Shonda Rhimes, prolific television producer and founder of television production company Shondaland, honored Allen for her work as a dancer and choreographer, among others. She called it “inspiration and a symbol of power,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
âShe was one of those pivotal forces in the world that made me feel like I could be who I wanted to be,â said Rhimes, who has worked with Allen on shows such as âGrey’s Anatomyâ and âScandal. “. “Debbie’s vision is to create opportunities for talented people who might not have had their chance otherwise.”
Allen is a veteran of tribute programs for past recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors. She said this year’s process was particularly intimate. âWe spend a lot more time together than the other award winning groups,â she said.
Van Dyke was introduced by his Mary Poppins co-star Julie Andrews. She compared him to her character, Bert who worked as a chimney sweep.
“Like his character Bert in this film, Dick seems to have found the secret to happiness, and like Bert, Dick is a lot of things: he is an artist, a one-man band, a deep philosopher, a high-level showman and a charm propagator. Luck rubs off when he shakes your hand, “Andrew said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Bryan Cranston and Lin-Manuel Miranda also paid tribute to the 95-year-old, whose career spans seven decades.
The recipients also spoke after placing the iconic medallion around their necks. Several of the performers said they hoped their modified ceremony would be part of a series of landmarks in the country’s cultural reopening.
Midori said it made her happy, “to come out of these very dark times, to be able to see the arts come back.”
The winners met with President Joe Biden last month, marking a return to tradition after former President Donald Trump avoided the celebration during his tenure. Biden said he and First Lady Jill Biden met the group “as ordinary fans of their extraordinary work which touches the soul of our human experience.”
âAnd we did it as president and first lady, recognizing how art touches the soul of America,â he continued. in a recorded video message. “This year, with deep loss and pain, repair and renewal, the artist’s vision is more important than ever.”
The performing arts center is planning a full-scale reopening in September with events slowly escalating until then. The 44th Kennedy Center Honors program is scheduled to take place, back to its regular schedule, in December.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. It was reported from Cincinnati.