The latest Kennedy Center Honorees have been announced and, in a surprising turn of events, a Broadway show is getting recognition. Three guesses of which one.
Along with Cher, Reba McEntire, composer Philip Glass, and jazz sax player Wayne Shorter — all being honored at the 41st annual national celebration of the arts — Hamilton co-creators Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler will receive “a unique Kennedy Center Honors as trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category,” a press release reads.
This is a first for the ceremony, which has always recognized individuals instead of entire works. But, as John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts President Deborah F. Rutter put it to The New York Times, “I believe that this is a work that has transformed how we think about using art to talk about who we are as a society.”
“The world looks to America for its creative instincts and artistic courage,” Rutter said in a more formal statement accompanying the announcement. “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 has come to define who we are as a people.”
The President of the United States typically attends the Honors Gala with the exception of four instances. One of those instances was last year when the White House announced President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump would sit it out “to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.” This decision was made following intense criticism over Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” comments on the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
This year’s Honors Gala will be recorded as a two-hour primetime special and broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.