×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Shirley MacLaine, Billy Joel, Carlos Santana Among 2013 Kennedy Center Honorees

Herbie Hancock and opera singer Martina Arroyo also will be honored at December gala

Actress Shirley MacLaine, singer/songwriter Billy Joel, opera singer Martina Arroyo, jazz legend Herbie Hancock and musician/songwriter Carlos Santana will receive this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.

The five will be feted Dec. 8 at a Kennedy Center gala slated to be broadcast Dec. 29 on CBS. As usual, the show will be produced by George Stevens Jr. and son Michael before an audience of political and showbiz titans expected to include President Barack Obama and the first lady.

It will be the 36th year for the event, which caps a weekend of festivities that include a private dinner at the U.S. State Department the previous evening, a White House reception and other functions.  It will be Secretary of State John Kerry’s first outing as host of the Dec. 7 dinner.

KenCen Chairman David M. Rubenstein said this year’s recipients “have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world.” Of the list’s four musicians, he praised Arroyo’s “glorious soprano voice,” Hancock’s ability to break musical barriers, Joel’s four prolific decades and Santana’s record of transcending genres. He saluted  MacLaine for her “remarkable breadth and range” demonstrated over a nearly 60-year career on stage and screen.

The selection of both Santana and Arroyo drew immediate praise from the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, the org that complained earlier this year that Hispanic artists have been under represented in the annual kudofest. Santana was born in Mexico while Arroyo was raised in Harlem by her Puerto Rican father and African American mother.

“This is a turning point of an expansive movement to bring full integration into an acknowledgment system for the arts,” said Felix Sanchez, chairman and cofounder and of the D.C.-based group.  He called Santana an “iconic musician,” and said Arroyo’s life story “is very important to the Latin American community.”

The Hispanic Foundation’s complaint resulted in a decision by the center last May to revise the process used to choose honorees. Supplementing its existing artists committee, it created a new six-person advisory panel to make recommendations. Members include cellist Yo-Yo Ma and dancer/singer/actress Chita Rivera, two former Honorees.

More Legit

  • Hillary and Clinton review

    Broadway Review: Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in 'Hillary and Clinton'

    If anyone could play Hillary Clinton, it’s Laurie Metcalf – and here she is, in Lucas Hnath’s “Hillary and Clinton,” giving a performance that feels painfully honest and true. And if anyone could capture Bill Clinton’s feckless but irresistible charm, that would be John Lithgow – and here he is, too. Who better to work [...]

  • Hadestown review

    Broadway Review: 'Hadestown'

    “Hadestown” triggered a lot of buzz when this wholly American show (which came to the stage by way of a concept album) premiered at Off Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop in 2016. Arriving on Broadway with its earthly delights more or less intact, this perfectly heavenly musical — with book, music and lyrics by Anaïs [...]

  • Burn This review

    Broadway Review: Adam Driver, Keri Russell in 'Burn This'

    The ache for an absent artist permeates Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This,” now receiving a finely-tuned Broadway revival that features incendiary performances by Adam Driver and Keri Russell, playing two lost souls in a powerful and passionate dance of denial. AIDS is never mentioned in this 1987 play, yet the epidemic and the profound grief that [...]

  • White Noise Suzan-Lori Parks

    Listen: The 'Dumb Joke' Hidden in 'White Noise'

    Suzan-Lori Parks’ new play “White Noise” tackles a host of urgent, hot-button topics, including racism and slavery — but, according to the playwright, there’s also a “dumb joke” buried in it. Listen to this week’s podcast below: Appearing with “White Noise” director Oskar Eustis on “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast, Parks revealed that the inspiration for [...]

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • Alan Wasser

    Alan Wasser, Tony-Winning Broadway General Manager, Dies at 70

    Alan Wasser, a veteran Broadway general manager who received an honorary Tony Award, died from complications from Parkinson’s disease in New York on Sunday. He was 70. Wasser founded Alan Wasser Associates and general managed “Les Misérables,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Miss Saigon,” three of the most successful productions of all time. He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content