Sutton Foster, Patina Miller & Karen Olivo Honor Shirley MacLaine at KENNEDY CENTER HONORS
Eminent artists, friends and peers of this year's five honorees gathered in Washington, D.C. last night (Dec. 8) to present entertaining and heartfelt tributes at THE 36TH ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, an entertainment special to be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 29 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Academy Award, Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Kathy Bates, who starred with Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award-winning actress Shirley MacLaine in the feature films "Used People" and "Bruno," spoke of her longtime friend, saying, "Shirley MacLaine, we've been friends for 20 years - can you believe it's been that long? It might surprise this illustrious crowd to know that you and I have had the pleasure of making four films together. This joint body of work has accumulated a total of no Oscar nominations... and the same number of Golden Globes. I only wish we had the money back it cost to make those pictures; maybe we could have made a dent in the budget deficit... Me, I was tickled pink just to see my name on the call sheet with yours - albeit several lines below, but it was there! And though our movies together didn't do 'Hunger Games' numbers, I'm proud to say our friendship continues to break all records. Like you, it's got legs."
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.
The annual event recognizes recipients for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures and television. In keeping with tradition, the roster of performers and presenters remained secret prior to the gala, and a short biographical film was featured during each honoree's tribute.
Performers and presenters included Kathy Bates, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Terence Blanchard, Garth Brooks, Joseph Calleja, Terri Lyne Carrington, Vinnie Colaiuta, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Sheila E, Sutton Foster, James Genus, Chantelle Grant, Ryan Speedo Green, Buddy Guy, Don Henley, Dave Holland, Juanes, Anna Kendrick, Robert Kerr, Lionel Loueke, Marcus Miller, Patina Miller, Mix Master Mike, Tom Morello, Karen Olivo, Bill O'Reilly, Fher Olvera, Aaron Parks, Sondra Radvanovsky, Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Arturo Sandoval, Wayne Shorter, Snoop Dogg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Brendon Urie, Rufus Wainwright, Steve Winwood and Yuriy Yurchuck.
President and Mrs. Barack Obama were seated with the honorees in the Presidential Box of the Opera House at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, after hosting the traditionAl White House reception for the honorees.
Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award, Emmy Award and Tony Award-winning actress Glenn Close opened the festivities with a quote from 1980 Kennedy Center Honoree Agnes DeMille, who said, "The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark." Close continued, "This year we honor five who, throughout their lives, made creative leaps... landing on their feet, providing joy and enlightenment to millions. We proudly add their names to our signature wall. A songwriting lad from New York whose songs illuminate our lives and his fans crowned him America's piano man. A wide-eyed girl from Harlem whose tenacity and sublime voice fueled a triumpHal March to becoming a queen of Verdi opera. A Chicago prodigy who loved playing Gershwin and loved taking risks - exploring music's far frontiers and becoming our very own Jazz Master-in-Chief. A captivating redhead from Virginia with legs up to here, a heart out to there, and a life too big for just one lifetime. A virtuoso who brought the passion of his beat to America, his Supernatural guitar and his super sounds electrifying us from Woodstock to the White House. These are our 2013 Kennedy Center Honorees."