Cicely Tyson Among 2015 Kennedy Center Honorees
Paul Harris | Variety
George Lucas, Cicely Tyson, Rita Moreno, singer-songwriter Carole King, conductor Seiji Ozawa and the Eagles have been selected to receive this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, the center said Wednesday.
The artists will be celebrated Dec. 6 at a gala to be broadcast Dec. 29 on CBS and produced by Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are expected to attend along with other notables from the worlds of showbiz, politics and business.
The Honors gala, now in its 38th year, will again cap a weekend of celebrations to include a private dinner at the U.S. State Department the preceding evening hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry. Honorees receive their colorful medallions at that event. In addition, the Obamas will host honorees and others at the White House prior to the gala performance.
Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein saluted this year’s selections, which were chosen based on the recommendation of the Center’s Special Honors Advisory Committee. Other input is offered by the center’s board of trustees, its artists committee and the public.
Rubenstein said the music of the Eagles “has endured as the quintessential American rock and roll sound for generations.” The core band members to be feted are Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh.
King, another pop hitmaker, has a canon of “heartfelt lyrics and tunes (that) are woven throughout the tapestry of American music.” Films from Lucas have “enriched our world with stories of epic adventure,” said the KenCen chieftain.
Rubenstein said Moreno’s “iconic spitfire roles” are embedded in the heart of American culture, while Ozawa’s artistic leadership as a conductor has “set a new standard for orchestras around the world.” He praised Tyson for her range of strong female roles on stage and screen that “have broken boundaries for women of color.”
Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter said the latest slate of honorees shares a powerful common theme — artists as history-makers and artists who defy both convention and category. “Each honoree and their career-spanning achievements exemplify a rare quality of artistic bravery,” she said. “They have pushed the limits of their gifts as musicians, actors, and storytellers to inspire generations of Americans and those around the world.”
The center’s Special Honors Advisory Committee is chaired by trustee Cappy McGarr. Members include trustee Elaine Wynn along with past honorees and artists Yo-Yo Ma, Chita Rivera, Julie Andrews and Herbie Hancock; and Harolyn Blackwell and Damian Woetzel.