The 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors is broadcast on CBS December 26 beginning at 8 PM ET. Gloria Estefan hosts.
The two-hour broadcast celebrates a quartet of Hamilton creators, actor-singer Cher (the subject of the new Broadway musical The Cher Show), composer and pianist Philip Glass, country music star Reba McEntire (who made her Broadway debut in Annie Get Your Gun), and jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter.
In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House December 2, the 2018 Honorees were saluted by performers from New York, Hollywood, and the arts capitals of the world. TV watchers can expect to see performances or tributes by Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth, Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, Tony nominee Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Tony nominee Christopher Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum, Tony and Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Lambert, Tony winner Cyndi Lauper, Tony nominee S. Epatha Merkerson, Tony nominee Renée Fleming, and more.
The co-creators of the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Hamilton—writer and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire—receive a unique Kennedy Center Honors as “trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category.”
The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.
“The Kennedy Center Honors recognizes exceptional artists who have made enduring and indelible marks on our culture,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein in an earlier statement. “Cher is the consummate star, wowing generations of fans with her distinctive voice, blockbuster albums and glittering on-screen presence; Philip Glass is a modern-day Mozart whose works across opera, symphony, chamber music and film define contemporary music and simply transfix us; country songstress Reba McEntire has inspired us over five decades with her powerhouse voice and music that conveys heartfelt, heartwarming honesty; Wayne Shorter is a seminal artist, defying categorization while carrying forward the mantle of jazz; and the creators of Hamilton have literally and figuratively changed the face of American culture with daringly original, breathtakingly relevant work.”
“The world looks to America for its creative instincts and artistic courage. This year’s slate of honorees represents the pinnacle of our nation’s originality and the rich mosaic of diverse perspectives and art forms that have come to define who we are as a people,” added Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter.
Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment executive produce the special for the fourth consecutive year. Also, Weiss returns as director. The Kennedy Center Honors founding producer is George Stevens, Jr.