Kennedy Center to honor Garth Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Joan Baez, more

Kennedy Center to honor Garth Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Joan Baez, more

WASHINGTON

Five
months
after
they
were
postponed
because
of
the
coronavirus,
the
annual
Kennedy
Center
Honors
are
coming
back
in
May,
possibly
in
a
series
of
small
events,
organizers
announced
Wednesday.

This
year’s
recipients
of
the
lifetime
artistic
achievement
awards
are
country
music
legend
Garth
Brooks,
dancer
and
actress
Debbie
Allen,
violin
virtuoso
Midori,
folk
music
icon
Joan
Baez
and
actor
Dick
Van
Dyke.

The
centerpiece
event
for
Washington’s
Kennedy
Center
for
the
Performing
Arts
normally
happens
in
December,
but
it
was
postponed
last
year
amid
the
pandemic.
Now
the
center
plans
to
hold
some
sort
of
commemorative
event
or
series
of
events
in
mid-May.

Planners
envision
“multiple
events
for
physically
distant
audiences”
across
the
center’s
campus,
according
to
a
statement,
which
said
there
would
be
filming
from
May
17
to
May
22.
The
entire
campus
“will
come
alive
with
small,
in-person
events
and
re-envisioned
virtual
tributes.”

The
awards
program
typically
centers
around
a
gala
in
the
Kennedy
Center’s
main
theater
that
includes
tributes
and
performances
that
are
kept
secret
from
the
honorees.
But
even
with
COVID-19
vaccines
gradually
rolling
out
across
the
country,
Kennedy
Center
President
Deborah
Rutter
knew
the
usual
concert
would
not
be
possible
in
May.

“We’re
clearly
not
going
to
have
2,000
people
in
an
enclosed
space
for
three
hours,”
she
said.
“But
I
think
we’ve
come
up
with
some
really
great
ideas.”

Country star Garth Brooks will be among those recognized by Kennedy Center Honors this year.
Country
star
Garth
Brooks
will
be
among
those
recognized
by
Kennedy
Center
Honors
this
year.

Getty
Images

The
official
announcement
leaves
plenty
of
room
for
improvising
and
last-minute
adjustments.
It
simply
states
that
“the
viability
of
additional
in-person
events
will
be
considered
as
COVID-19
safety
protocols
evolve
over
the
upcoming
months.”

For
this
year’s
honorees,
it’s
a
chance
to
be
part
of
a
historically
unique
ceremony,
and
some
hoped
it
would
prove
therapeutic
to
participants
and
viewers.
The
event
will
be
televised
on
CBS
on
June
6.

“I
think
it
will
feel
like
a
return
to
something

not
total
normality,
but
something,”
Allen
told
The
Associated
Press.
“It’s
normally
such
a
festive
event,
and
I’m
sure
that
will
come
across.”

Brooks
is
no
stranger
to
the
Kennedy
Center
Honors
process.
He
has
performed
as
part
of
tributes
to
James
Taylor,
Loretta
Lynn
and
Billy
Joel.
His
wife,
Trisha
Yearwood,
performed
last
year
in
2019
to
honor
Linda
Ronstadt.

“Just
getting
the
call
was
such
a
thrill,”
Brooks
said
in
an
interview
with
AP.
“Whatever
it
is,
it’s
going
to
be
cool.”

Midori
said
she’s
“truly
curious”
to
see
what
programmers
come
up
with
and
hopes
the
event
“represents
a
step
toward
normality.”

Violin virtuoso Midori will receive an award from Kennedy Center Honors.
Violin
virtuoso
Midori
will
receive
an
award
from
Kennedy
Center
Honors.

Los
Angeles
Times
via
Getty
Images

Van
Dyke
joked
that
the
Kennedy
Center
“just
made
it”
by
granting
him
the
honor
at
age
95.

“I’d
certainly
love
to
go
in
person,”
he
told
the
AP.
“I
ain’t
leaving
without
that
medal.”

Baez
said
she
hopes
circumstances
allow
for
“a
gathering
of
actual
people”
and
that
this
will
be
the
first
ceremony
in
four
years
that
includes
participation
from
the
president.

The
election
of
Donald
Trump
threw
the
event
into
turmoil,
with
multiple
honorees

threatening
to
boycott

in
2017
if
Trump
were
involved.
Trump
and
first
lady
Melania
Trump

generally
stayed
away

from
Kennedy
Center
events,
but
Rutter
hopes
to
get
President-elect
Joe
Biden
involved
this
year.

Baez
said
this
year’s
ceremony
could
represent
the
closing
of
two
dark
historical
chapters.
“Not
just
the
virus,
we’ll
be
coming
out
of
the
political
dark
ages,”
she
said.

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