This year’s Kennedy Center Honors was staged in late May over the course of a week and stitched together into a two hour telecast that premiered June 6th on CBS. The annual Honors telecast without categories that recognizes the lifelong accomplishments and talents of the nations’ artists is normally aired the week between Christmas and New Years, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tributes to this year’s Honorees – Debbie Allen, actress/dancer/ director; Joan Baez, singer/ activist; Garth Brooks, country singer/songwriter; Dick Van Dyke, actor/writer/ singer/dancer; and Midori Goto, violinist – were filmed across the Kennedy Center’s campus or recorded virtually and presented along with a few live, socially-distant performances in front of a reduced audience in the Concert Hall.
Debbie Allen’s tribute included her sister, Phylicia Rashad and Vanessa Hudgens along with the company of Broadway musical ‘Fame’ performed the title song from the famous musical/TV series to honor her.
Joan Baez’s friends Mary Chapin Carpenter and Emmylou Harris performed a medley of her works that ended with “We Shall Overcome,” which Baez sang during Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington.
The celebration of Garth Brooks made the star emotional as he enjoyed renditions of his work by James Taylor (“The River”), Kelly Clarkson (“The Dance”), and Gladys Knight (“We Shall Be Free”).
Derek Hough led a team of dancers through a Mary Poppins performance of “Step in Time” for the tribute to Dick Van Dyke that was introduced by Julie Andrews.
Most of the salutes for Midori, minus the Hall of Nations solo by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, were held in the Concert Hall and included performances by Adele Anthony, Hilary Hahn, and Gil Shaham.
Stream the full 43rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors special on CBS and Paramount+. For more information on the Kennedy Center Honors, visit https:// www.kennedy-center.org/ whats-on/honors/.