Press Release back to list
09.09.2008

ACTOR MORGAN FREEMAN, SINGER GEORGE JONES, ACTRESS, SINGER AND DIRECTOR BARBRA STREISAND, CHOREOGRAPHER TWYLA THARP AND MUSICIANS PETE TOWNSHEND AND ROGER DALTREY OF THE WHO, TO RECEIVE HONORS DURING "THE 31ST ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS," TO BE BROADCAST THIS DECEMBER ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK

CBS Has Broadcast the Kennedy Center Honors Each Year Since Its Debut 31 Years Ago

  

Actor Morgan Freeman, singer George Jones, actress, singer and director Barbra Streisand, choreographer Twyla Tharp, and musicians Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who will receive honors for the year 2008, on THE 31ST ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, to be broadcast this December on the CBS Television Network.  This marks the 31st year of the special, which has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut.

In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, the 2008 Honorees will be saluted by great performers from Hollywood and the arts capitals of the world.  Seated with President and Mrs. Bush, the Honorees will accept the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes.   

"With their extraordinary genius and tenacity, the 2008 Honorees have redefined the way we see, hear and feel the performing arts. We will forever be thankful for the great gifts they have shared with us," said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman.  "Morgan Freeman's name is synonymous with great screen acting and is one of the most respected performers in American cinema. With his unique voice and extraordinary career endurance, singer George Jones has been instrumental in making country music a vital force in American life. Barbra Streisand's trailblazing career in music, theater, films and television is one of the most thrilling spectacles of our culture. Choreographer Twyla Tharp is an American original, whose work has indelibly enriched the vocabulary of modern dance, contemporary ballet and the Broadway musical. As the heart and soul of the seminal band The Who, songwriters and singers Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey transformed the sights and sounds of rock and roll."

The President and Mrs. Bush will receive the Honorees and members of the Artists Committee who nominate them and the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees at the White House prior to the gala performance taping on Dec. 7.  The 2008 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a dinner dance in the Grand Foyer. The Kennedy Center Honors will be bestowed the night before the gala at a State Department dinner, hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts - whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television - and are selected by the Kennedy Center's Board of Trustees.  Members of the Kennedy Center's national artists committee as well as past Honorees made recommendations.  The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence.  The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement.  The selection process over the years has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.

Michael M. Kaiser, President of the Center, expressed the national cultural center's gratitude to the many individuals involved in the success of the Honors program.  "In addition to recognizing our most treasured artists, the Kennedy Center Honors also supports many of our performing arts initiatives, education and public service programming, and national outreach efforts." 

George Stevens Jr., who created the Honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff, will produce and co-write the show for the 31st consecutive year.  The Honors telecast has been honored with five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Program, and it is a nominee again this year.  It has also been recognized with the Peabody Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America.

 

RATING:  To Be Announced

 

GENRE:  AWARDS