Event to be held Dec 4th
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced the selection of five Honorees who will receive the 45th Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements. Recipients to be honored at the annual national celebration of the arts in Washington, DC are Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, U2, George Clooney and Cuban-born American composer, conductor, and educator Tania León.
The Kennedy Center has also announced that Done+Dusted, the award-winning production company and producers of the Center’s Mark Twain Prize since 2018, have been selected as executive producers of the 45th annual Kennedy Center Honors.
Throughout its 44-year history, the annual Honors Gala has become the highlight of the Washington cultural and society calendar, and its national broadcast on CBS is a high point of the television season. On Sunday, December 4th, in a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, the 45th class of Kennedy Center Honorees will be saluted by today’s leading performers from New York, Hollywood, and the arts capitals of the world. Seated in the Box Tier of the iconic Kennedy Center Opera House, the Honorees will accept the recognition and gratitude of their peers through performances and tributes. The 45th Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a dinner in the Grand Foyer.
The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on the CBS Television Network at a later date for the 45th consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
“In December 1980, we made our first trip across the Atlantic to America,” shares U2’s Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. “Our first show was at The Ritz in New York City, the second, The Bayou in DC. We had big dreams then, fueled in part by the commonly held belief at home that America smiles on Ireland. And it turned out to be true, yet again. But even in the wilder thoughts, we never imagined that 40 years on, we would be invited back to receive one of the nation’s greatest honors…It has been a four-decade love affair with the country and its people, its artists, and culture. We consider America to be a home away from home and we are very grateful to the Kennedy Center Honors for welcoming us into this great clan of extraordinary artists.”
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine ever receiving this prestigious Kennedy Center Honors,” Grant shares. “Through the years, I’ve watched so many of my heroes serenaded by colleagues and fellow artists, always moved by the ability of music and film to bring us together and to see the best in each other. I cannot wait to celebrate with my fellow honorees, friends, and family. Thank you for widening the circle to include all of us.”
“I’m humbled beyond words to be included amongst this prestigious group of individuals, both past and present,” Knight adds. “You could never have told me as a young girl starting my career that I would be honored on a stage such as this, with artists and humanitarians such as these — it just wouldn’t have seemed possible. It would have been the dream of all dreams. I have been blessed with so much in my life and this certainly stands with those achievements at the top of that list. To be honored as a Kennedy Center Honoree is among the highlights of my career. I stand here with my fans, my family, my friends, my team, and my faith in accepting such an amazing distinction. It is dedicated to all those who paved the path for me to be able to accomplish the wonderful blessings I’ve been able to receive. The Kennedy Center’s commitment to the arts is unparalleled and I am so very grateful for this moment.”
The Honors recipients are recognized for their contributions to American culture through the performing arts — whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television — and are confirmed by the Executive Committee of the Center’s Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.
The Honoree selection process includes solicitation of recommendations from former Honorees, the artistic community, the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, and the general public. This year’s selected Honorees were chosen based on the recommendation of the Center’s Special Honors Advisory Committee, which is chaired by David Bohnett and includes past Honors recipients and distinguished artists Julie Andrews, Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Judith Jamison, Lionel Richie, and John Williams as well as David M. Rubenstein, Deborah F. Rutter, Bryan Lourd, Cappy McGarr, Shonda Rhimes, and Daryl Roth. These individuals play a critical role in the evaluation and selection process, and the Kennedy Center is indebted to them for their involvement.