Review: The 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

The recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors were: Al Green, Tom Hanks, Patricia McBride, Sting, and Lily Tomlin.  The honorees were celebrated with the honors ceremony held on December 8th at the Kennedy Center Opera House, where the honorees were saluted by a variety of talented performers.  However, the honorees received their medallions prior to the event on December 6.

As in years past, the Kennedy Center Honors, as seen by viewers at home, are intended to pay tribute to the artists being honored with various performances and kind words of their contemporaries.  
The wonderful ceremony was hosted by the talented Stephen Colbert.  
Al Green’s tribute was introduced by Whoopi Goldberg. It featured performances by artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire (“I Can’t Get Next to You” and “Love & Happiness”) and Jennifer Hudson (“Simply Beautiful”). Usher also performed “Let’s Stay Together.” Mavis Staples and Sam Moore’s number, “Take Me to the River,” was incredible and was a great way to end the tribute!  

Patricia McBride’s tribute was introduced by Christine Baranski. To honor the ballerina, New York City Ballet principal dancer Tiler Peck performed “Fascinating Rhythm.”  New York City Ballet soloist Lauren Lovette and Boston Ballet principal dancer Jeffrey Cirio performed “Rubies.”  Other performances included a performance by Misty Copeland (American Ballet Theatre) as a solo from Tchaikovsky’s pas de deux.  Tiler Peck reappeared for another performance with Jared Angle (both from New York City Ballet) for “Dances at a Gathering.” However, the highlight of the tribute to McBride was “I Got Rhythm” by The Charlette Ballet, along with all the previous dancers.

Tom Hanks’ tribute was introduced by David Letterman.  However, the tribute was led by Martin Short, in the temporary role of Master of Ceremonies.  A capella quintet Pentatonix sang “That Thing You Do” for the actor.  Tony Award-winners Laura Benanti, Jessie Mueller, and Kelli O’Hara gave the audience a brilliant trio performance of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”  The tribute ended with Martin Short leading the entire company in a rousing rendition of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Lily Tomlin’s tribute was introduced by Garrison Keillor.  The tribute consisted of a spoken-word piece performed by Jane Lynch, Kate McKinnon, Reba McEntire, and Jane Fonda.
Sting’s tribute was introduced by Meryl Streep.  Performances during this segment featured Lady Gaga singing “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” and Esperanza Spalding, with Herbie Hancock on the piano, singing “Fragile.”  Fellow rocker Bruce Springsteen sang, “I Hung My Head.”  However, the tribute ended on a powerful note with a medley of “So Lonely,” “Roxanne,” and “Message in a Bottle” performed by Bruno Mars and the cast of Sting’s original musical, The Last Ship.
Yet again, the world is able to celebrate those who have successfully contributed to the entertainment world.  Through words, song, and dance we are able to come together and share in the legacy of these five individuals and their careers.  

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