The Kennedy Center may be spending the summer with Stephen Sondheim, but April 14 will be an all Rodgers affair at the Washington, D.C. landmark. A host of Broadway and Hollywood's finest performers will take part in the Kennedy Center's Tenth Annual Gala.
This yearly spring soirée will pay tribute to the late Richard Rodgers, who would be celebrating his 100th birthday this year. Some of performers scheduled to sing classic and lesser-known Rodgers tunes include Kristin Chenoweth, Audra McDonald, Shirley Jones, Rita Moreno, John Raitt, Mitzi Gaynor, Celeste Holm, Howard Keel and Samuel Ramey. The Washington Chorus will also be on hand, and music director Leonard Slatkin will lead the National Symphony Orchestra.
For the past decade, Kennedy Center's annual black-tie event has helped raise funds that allow the performing arts to remain in the country's capitol. Proceeds from the event enable the Kennedy Center to reach millions of young people and their families through the Center's various outreach and educational programs.
During his lifetime, Richard Rodgers penned over 900 songs. His partnerships with Lorenz Hart and later with Oscar Hammerstein II produced some of the most successful musicals in Broadway history. His works with Hart included On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, I Married an Angel, The Boys from Syracuse, Pal Joey and By Jupiter, and the Rodgers-Hammerstein collaboration spawned Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music. A hit revival of Oklahoma! just opened to glowing notices at Broadway's Gershwin Theatre.
Tickets to the performance only are now on sale by calling the Kennedy Center box office at (202) 467-4600. Tickets to the reception and the performance are available by calling the Gala Hotline at (202) 416-8338. Interested theatregoers can also log on to www.kennedy-center.org and purchase tickets on-line. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2700 F Street in Washington, DC. —By Andrew Gans