By Andrew Gans
04 Dec 2006
The Lloyd Webber tribute featured the talents of two Tony Award winners, two actresses currently enjoying the roles of their careers and acclaimed vocalist Josh Groban.
Betty Buckley, who won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella in Lloyd Webber's Cats, joined Sarah Brightman for a rendition of the Cats anthem "Memory." Brightman created the role of Christine Daae in another Lloyd Webber musical, The Phantom of the Opera, and was also married to the composer for several years.
Elena Roger, the Argentine actress who is currently wowing London audiences in the acclaimed West End revival of Evita, made her first U.S. stage appearance at the Kennedy Center Honors, performing a song from the Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical that charts the rise and fall of Eva Peron. Christine Ebersole, who opened to raves in the new Broadway musical Grey Gardens, performed "As If We Never Said Goodbye," the second-act showstopper from Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard.
Singer Groban performed The Phantom of the Opera's best-known song "Music of the Night."
Honorees are recognized for lifetime contribution to American culture in the fields of dance, music, theatre, opera, motion pictures or television. Recommendations of possible nominees were made by members of the Kennedy Center's national artists committee, past honorees as well as these artists: Dan Aykroyd, Angela Bassett, Dave Brubeck, Glenn Close, Barbara Cook, Michael Douglas, Nora Ephron, Renee Fleming, Denyce Graves, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anjelica Huston, Joseph Kalichstein, Nathan Lane, Patti LuPone, Rob Marshall, Audra McDonald, Reba McEntire, Liam Neeson, Mary-Louise Parker, Oscar Peterson, Christopher Plummer, Samuel Ramey, Natasha Richardson, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Kevin Spacey, Frederica von Stade and Damian Woetzel. Previous Kennedy Center Honorees Edward Albee, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Jacques dAmboise, Julie Harris, Marilyn Horne, Elton John, Angela Lansbury, Arthur Mitchell, Paul Newman, Hal Prince and Beverly Sills also made nominations.
Last year's Kennedy Center Honorees included singer Tony Bennett, dancer and teacher Suzanne Farrell, actress Julie Harris, actor-director-producer Robert Redford and singer Tina Turner.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is the award-winning composer of Cats, Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar, By Jeeves, The Woman in White, Whistle Down the Wind, The Beautiful Game and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He is currently a co-producer of the London revival of The Sound of Music; casting for the musical's lead role was the subject of the U.K. reality series "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"
For more information about the Kennedy Center Honorees or the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, visit www.kennedy-center.org.