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The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced the selection of five Honorees who will receive the 46th Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements. Recipients to be honored at the annual national celebration of the arts in Washington, D.C. this December are: actor and comedian Billy Crystal; acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming; British singer-songwriter producer, and member of the Bee Gees, Barry Gibb; rapper, singer, and actress Queen Latifah; and singer Dionne Warwick. Former Kennedy Center Honoree (2017) Gloria Estefan returns as host, marking her third time hosting the special. Done+Dusted are Executive Producers of the 46th annual Kennedy Center Honors. The 46th annual Kennedy Center Honors will air on the CBS Television Network for the 46th year and stream on Paramount+*.

“The Kennedy Center Honors recognizes artists who have made profound contributions to the cultural life of our nation,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “A true comedic icon and multi-talented artist since the 1980s who has kept millions laughing around the world, Billy Crystal is responsible for some of the most memorable stand-up moments and hilarious Hollywood scenes in the last half-century; Barry Gibb, along with his late brothers Robin and Maurice, set the music world on fire in the ‘60s and later defined the modern dance era with their trademark falsetto sound and groove style, becoming a pop superstar group for the ages; fittingly known as ‘America’s soprano,’ the beloved opera star Renée Fleming has captivated audiences worldwide with her luminous voice, incomparable artistry, and a knack for bringing opera into the mainstream for more than four decades; as the ‘First Lady of Hip Hop,’ Queen Latifah shaped and innovated the art form in its earliest days, representing black women everywhere and using the idiom to become a powerful voice for change; and soulful songstress Dionne Warwick has blazed a trail with her signature voice, scintillating presence, and trove of hits that has become a soundtrack of inspiration for generations of artists and audiences.”

“This year’s slate represents an extraordinary mix of individuals who have redefined their art forms and demonstrated remarkable tenacity and authenticity in becoming an original. Each of them has explored new terrain, stretched artistic boundaries, and most importantly, committed to sharing their gifts with the world,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. “This year we pay special tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip hop, a uniquely American culture whose constant evolution is one of enduring relevance and impact, reflecting our society as it has grown into an international phenomenon. Hip hop has been an important, thriving art form here at the Center for a number of years; what a privilege it is to bestow an Honors to the First Lady of Hip Hop who has inspired us along the way.”

Throughout its 45-year history, the annual Honors Gala has become the highlight of the Washington cultural and society calendar. On Sunday, December 3, in a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, the 46th 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 46th Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a dinner in the Grand Foyer.

The Kennedy Center Honors recognizes and celebrates individuals whose unique contributions have shaped the way we see ourselves, each other, and our world. Recipients have each had an impact on the rich tapestry of American life and culture through the performing arts. Whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television, each Kennedy Center Honoree has a unique place in the national consciousness and their influence has inspired audiences from all walks of life.

Done+Dusted, a production company with a reputation for creating and capturing the moments that make headlines and shape culture, returns as Executive Producers for a second year. The 46th annual Kennedy Center Honors will be produced by Done+Dusted in association with ROK Productions, represented by Elizabeth Kelly, who will executive produce alongside David Jammy. The show will be directed by Alex Rudzinski.

Done+Dusted (D+D) is a multi-award-winning global entertainment group with offices in Los Angeles, London, and Abu Dhabi. The preeminent producer of live television events in the world, D+D has produced the previous four Mark Twain Prize shows at the Kennedy Center, and has reimagined and reinvigorated the country’s top recognition for humor, resulting in an Emmy®–nominated tent-pole on the Kennedy Center calendar. Whether it is producing the most-watched television event in history (the London Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies), the Apple TV+ world ratings blockbuster Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special, the ABC hit series of Disney Singalongs, multiple network “roadblocks” including Stand Up To Cancer and Graduate Together, YouTube Originals’ most watched live event ever, Dear Class of 2020, the last five Emmy Awards® (including two during the pandemic), or the ABC ratings sensation Little Mermaid Live, D+D’s work bears the distinct badge of quality, spectacle, and storytelling that makes it, unequivocally, “Done+Dusted.”

 

CBS is the Exclusive Sponsor of the Kennedy Center Honors.

Boeing is the Exclusive Underwriter of the Kennedy Center Honors Gala.

Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of the Kennedy Center Honors.

The Kennedy Center Honors Founding Producer is George Stevens, Jr.

 

Each year, Honorees are confirmed by the Executive Committee of the Center’s Board of Trustees. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; over the years, the selection process 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.

*Paramount+ Premium subscribers will have access to stream live via the live feed of their local CBS affiliate on the service, as well as on demand. Essential-tier subscribers will not have the option to stream live, but will have access to on-demand the day after the special airs.

 

46TH KENNEDY CENTER HONOREE STATEMENTS

“I am overwhelmed to be part of this fantastic group of artists. I started performing when I was five years old, making my parents and family laugh. Those laughs have carried me my entire life and career. I so wish they could be at the Kennedy Center for this glorious occasion. It has been a thrilling lifetime of performing in so many different arenas and my heart is full of gratitude to the Kennedy Center, my wife Janice, my children and grandchildren, our family and friends, and all the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. And finally, of course, my wonderful fans.” –Billy Crystal

“How thrilling to join the company of legendary artists who have received this recognition. This award demonstrates the richness and range of the performing arts in our country, and the Kennedy Center’s celebration is a powerful expression of our culture. Music has defined the arc of my life, giving voice to an introverted child, taking me to places I never dreamed of visiting and people I never dreamed of meeting. Most of all, it has shown me the enormous potential for healing and joy that the arts offer everyone. Having looked with awe at the Honorees in that box at the Kennedy Center Opera House, I’m incredibly grateful to think I will be among them.” –Renée Fleming

“This is a wonderful honor! It’s hard to be proud and humble at the same time. It is one of the most special moments in my life and something that I will always cherish. When I think back over 50 years to our beginnings in Redcliffe, Queensland, I could never have expected this to happen in my life. Receiving the Kennedy Center Honors is something that everyone hopes might happen one day. I’ve often thought about but never dreamed it could come true. Thank you to all those who made this dream a reality. I wish my brothers were here so that they could’ve shared in this special moment.” –Barry Gibb

“I’m humbled to be included in this incredible list of artists honored by the Kennedy Center. When we started on this journey decades ago, we were often told, ‘No’. No, you won’t be able to leave New Jersey. No, if you rap you can’t sing. No, singers can’t become actresses. No, actors can’t also produce. To now be recognized amongst so many multi-hyphenates feels unbelievable, not for just me and my team, but for our community. The work the Kennedy Center does is immeasurable so I’m beyond grateful for this recognition.” –Queen Latifah 

“I’m exceptionally happy to be honored by the Kennedy Center. It’s very exciting to be recognized for my contributions to the music industry for the past 60 years.” –Dionne Warwick

Kennedy Center Honors Ticket Information:

For ticket inquiries, please visit www.kennedy-center.org/honorsinfo.

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