Kennedy Center to Honor Dick Van Dyke and Others at Scaled-Down Events

After Dick Van Dyke got the call informing him that he had been selected as a Kennedy Center honoree, he did exactly what he was told not to do: He called his family to tell them the good news.

And why not? He’s a 95-year-old elder statesman of show business whose eponymous television show is considered to have helped shape American sitcoms for decades.

“My wife took the call and the instructions were, ‘Congratulations but do not tell anybody,’” Van Dyke said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “You can’t do that! I called all my relatives right away. I couldn’t hold that in.”

Van Dyke now adds to his résumé one of the country’s highest artistic honors. The other recipients, announced by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, include the singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez; the country music star Garth Brooks; the actress, choreographer and producer Debbie Allen; and the violinist Midori.

Last year, the pandemic scrambled the schedule for the Kennedy Center Honors. Typically held in December, the performances and ceremonies associated with the show have been postponed to May, with the broadcast scheduled for June 6 on CBS.

Another major change lies in the shifting political winds: While President Trump did not attend the honors during his term or hold the traditional White House reception for the honorees, President-elect Biden is expected to rekindle the relationship.

In a typical year, the program features an opera house filled with dolled-up celebrities, dignitaries and donors there to celebrate the honorees. This year, the performances will be filmed on the Kennedy Center campus — some, perhaps, with a small live audience — or the film crew will travel to the performers if they cannot make it to Washington.

The center hopes to have its typical reception at the White House and ceremony at the State Department, where the ribbons are given out.

But some traditions are out of the question.

“A dinner with 2,000 people in the lobby will not happen,” said Deborah Rutter, the Kennedy Center’s president. “We’re only going to do this in the most safe and respectful way.”

Although these honorees have long passed the “struggling artist” stage of their careers, it is not lost on them that they are receiving this award at a time of crisis in their industries, given pandemic shutdowns.

Sahred From Source link Arts

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