After last year's delayed ceremony that lasted for months, organizers expect to be able to run at maximum capacity. However, the ceremony was later canceled due COVID-19 restrictions.
The 44th class of honorees in the Creative Arts category for lifetime achievement is heavy on musicians. Other honorees include Justino Diaz, an opera singer, and Joni Mitchell, a legend in folk music.
All will be remembered on December 5, with a program that features personalized tributes and performances that are kept private from honorees.
Deborah Rutter, president and CEO of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts said that the current plan was to fill the opera house to capacity and require everyone to wear masks. Rutter stated that the plans are fluid and they are open to adapting to changing circumstances based on COVID-19.
Rutter stated in an interview that "we don't know for certain what it will be like." "But don’t you think that we all deserve to have parties?"
The 43rd Kennedy Center Honors Class was postponed from December 2020 due to the fact that the center had largely stopped its indoor programming. The ceremony was drastically reduced in size. Instead of the usual gala event, it was replaced by a series small gatherings and pre-taped videos.
"We are able to do it now. Rutter stated that we will make any adjustments necessary. "We will continue to wear masks until we are no longer required."
Midler, who is 75, has received four Grammy Awards and three Emmys. She also won two Tony Awards. Her albums have been sold more than 30 million times. Midler stated that she was stunned and overwhelmed by the success of her albums. Since I was a child, I have listened to this broadcast that celebrates the best in American performing arts. I never thought that I would be among them.
Mitchell, 77 years old, rose from Canadian coffee shops to become a standard bearer for many generations of singer-songwriters. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her 1971 album, "Blue", as the third best album of all-time in 2020. Mitchell made a short statement saying that she wished her mother and father could have seen it. It's quite a distance from Saskatoon.
The Kennedy Center will celebrate its 50th anniversary of cultural programming with the Dec. 5 ceremony. The center was opened in 1971. A young Diaz, now aged 81, performed at the grand opening.
Diaz, a Puerto Rican bass-baritone, said, "It's very special." "It's a great privilege to share this space with all these geniuses.
Gordy, 91 years old, started Motown Records, the Detroit-based hit producer that launched the careers and success of many artists including Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross.
Gordy stated in an interview that President John Kennedy was the greatest leader in American history.
He said, "So to be honored under his name just means to me the world,"
Michaels, now 76, is a comedian institution in his own right. He created and produced "Saturday Night Live" in 1975, and has produced dozens of television shows including "Wayne's World," and "Kids in the Hall". In 2004, he was awarded the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Award, for lifetime achievement in comedy.
Michaels, who is not usually an on-stage performer recalls the Mark Twain night as being "mostly nerve-wracking", because he dreaded the traditional end of the night speech.
The Kennedy Center Honors are not subject to such pressures and Michaels stated that he plans to relax in the special honorees section at the opera house and wait for the surprises the organizers may have in store.
He said, "You don’t have to make a speech at end. That would be huge." "You're there just with your friends."