Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Allen, Garth Brooks to receive awards from the Kennedy Center; Katie Kurik, Mayim Bialik to be “In danger!”
The Kennedy Center of Honor returned Sunday, presenting arched carved medallions to entertainment icons during celebrations broadcast at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
Emmy, Grammy and Tony Dick Van Dyke; legendary country artist Garth Brooks; multihyphenate Debbie Allen; singer / activist Joan Baez and violinist Midori were honored late last month at a ceremony reconfigured for pandemic times.
Usually aired in December, the main celebration is filmed for days, sometimes outdoors and in front of a smaller audience in Washington, the iconic John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
During the two-hour show, hosted by Kennedy Center Award-winning Gloria Estefan, guests of the year were honored by stars such as Bradley Cooper, John Travolta, Lynn-Manuel Miranda and Tracy Ellis Ross.
Here are some of the best moments of the evening, tribute and performances:
Garth Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, more receive the Kennedy Center Award in brief, a small ceremony
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Brooks’ friends elevate him to a high place
If he never comes tomorrow, the artists who pay homage to Brooks will know exactly how much he loved them. The high-energy performer couldn’t help but let his emotion show up in the special Sunday show.
Tears welled up in Brooks’ eyes as Kelly Clarkson began The Dance, demonstrating her powerful voice, initially without the accompaniment of instruments. Her beautiful tone struck Brooks, and he closed his eyes and took over. When Clarkson turned, Brooks jumped up from his chair. “Whoa!” He shouted, putting his hand over his mouth in awe of the original American Idol winner.
James Taylor of The River made Brooks throw his head back in disbelief. Tears flowed again, which he wiped away as Taylor sang “Until we postpone for tomorrow, it happened yesterday.” And when Jimmy Allen treated the audience to “Friends in Low Places,” Brooks couldn’t help but get up. He appeared on the lips of his wife, singer Trisha Godina, “Oh, I’m here” before he got to his feet, forcing others to follow suit and clap together.
Brooks suffocated visibly again when Gladys Knight showed up to close her tribute with “We’ll Be Free.” They exchanged that I loved you, and when Brooks didn’t look through his mouth, he got up and sang. Knight said “I love this song!” before Brooks kisses her on stage.
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Julie Andrews honors her “infinitely kind” star
Paying tribute to Van Dyke’s many talents, the star’s homage, full of singing, dancing and praise from past stars.
Van Dyke’s cast “Bye Bye Birdie” Chita Rivera described it as “pure joy”. Lynn-Manuel Miranda, who starred with Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins Returns,” said: “Spend five minutes with Dick Van Dyke and you’re more alive than before.”
And the praise of Van Dyke’s co-star from “Mary Poppins” Julie Andrews provided all the sensations. She described the talent as “infinitely kind, wildly imaginative, insanely talented and cheerfully amusing.”
She reflected on their friendship, which began more than 50 years ago, comparing her boyfriend to Mary Poppins: “Although I actually think Dick is as magical as she is.”
The Sound of Music star added that, like his role as Bert in “Mary Poppins,” Van Dyke is “an artist, a soloist, a profound philosopher, a high-profile showman and a distributor of charm.” Carrying it home, she said, “Every day is supercalfagilistic and spicy with you, Dick.”
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The House of the Rising Sun by Sturgil Simpson
Joan Baez, a folk singer known for her protest anthems, enjoyed performances by Ryanon Giddens and Dirk Powell, along with Emily Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter, who sang a mix of her hits.
Another landmark is Sturgil Simpson’s performance of “House of the Rising Sun”, reflected in Baez’s debut album.
Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine introduced Simpson and praised Baez as a “tireless and uncompromising defender of human rights and social justice.” Simpson showed his deeply beautiful voice on the cover, and Baes swayed back and forth as he listened to his broadcast.
This is a family business for Debbie Allen
Allen’s sister, Cosby Show star Philicia Rashad and Allen’s daughter, dancer Vivian Nixon, joined the competition, which included flattering words from singer / choreographer Paula Abdul, Black-ish star Tracy Ellis Ross and TV producer Rhimes, as well as musical numbers from “Dreamgirls” actress Annika Noni Rose and “High School Musical” star Vanessa Hudgens.
“I’ve known Debbie Allen all her life,” Rashad, the older sister, began in homage, “She’s what she’s always been: full of love and joy. She’s a dreamer who makes her dreams come true with determination and great work. No mountain is too high to climb, no pebble too small to pay attention. “
Nixon joined a group of dancers who performed the number of the musical “Sweet Charity”, for which Allen received the Tony Award for Actress in a Musical in 1986.
Beth Middler invades Midori’s “mighty power.”
Middler seems to have shown support for his friend, with whom Middler works at the charity Midori & Friends.
“Although the beautiful Midori looks graceful and small, make no mistake. She is a giant and a powerful force,” Middler said.
“In the pantheon of musical legends, she stands side by side, resting on her chin until resting on her chin with the greatest violinists of all time,” the “Beach” star continued, before pointing to his time in the play “Roof Violinist”. “I’m a man who knows a thing or two about roof violins and beyond,” she snapped.
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