By Andrew Gans
09 Dec 2013
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Bates continued, “Your humanity informs your work. You never judge your characters, or your friends. You believe in the invisible forces that define our souls. And you have a deep desire to bring those souls to life in all their various incarnations and share with us their hopes and fears, their foibles and failures. But it’s your tremendous discipline and otherworldly devotion that makes it all look so effortless. Acting is as necessary to you as breathing… You are the most curious person I have ever met – not curious as in strange – though that, too – but you’re inquisitive. You ask questions to physicists and scientists, to ex-presidents and statesmen, to ordinary old people sitting in front of you – and to beings no one else but you can see – I personally witnessed that last conversation. But most of all, I admire your faith in possibilities: the possibility that we have lived many lives, the possibility that we are not alone in the universe – NASA is betting the house on. Shirley, friend of my heart, I am so proud to be here tonight to celebrate your magnificent accomplishments as an artist. I know you don’t think of yourself that way. You’re just passionate about what you do and you’re still working hard at it. Don’t stop! We think you’re simply magnificent. Now. Forever.”
Then Glenn Close introduced a performance homage to MacLaine, saying, “Years ago, a young dancer with stars in her eyes headed to New York and took musical theater by storm. Tonight, returning the favor, Broadway’s brightest young stars have come to the Kennedy Center to salute the artist they admire.” First Tony Award-winning actress, singer and dancer Sutton Foster performed a medley of hit Broadway songs made famous by MacLaine, including “Something Better Than This,” “Steam Heat” and “She’s No Longer A Gypsy,” followed by Tony Award-winning musical theater actress Patina Miller singing MacLaine’s signature song, “If My Friends Could See Me Now.” Then Tony Award-winning actress Karen Olivo sang “Irma La Douce,” followed by Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick belting out “It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish.” The tribute concluded with all of the performers singing “Lord Help Us, We Love Her” in honor of MacLaine.
By Andrew Gans