The ceremony will take place on Dec. 2 and be broadcast Dec. 26 on CBS.
Last year, President Donald Trump broke with tradition and didn’t attend the event. The White House also didn’t host a pre-event reception. That came after some of the honorees, including Norman Lear, said they would not attend the White House celebration, in protest of some of the administration’s policies.
It’s unclear whether Trump will participate this year. But some of the honorees, like Cher and “Hamilton” co-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, have been especially vocal in their opposition to the president. A spokeswoman for the Kennedy Center said they don’t know yet whether Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be there.
The award to “Hamilton” marks a departure for the event, as the honors have typically recognized lifetime achievement. Deborah Rutter, the president of the Kennedy Center, said, “In recognizing ‘Hamilton’ and its co-creators, the Kennedy Center is making an unprecedented statement about an unprecedented work — a work that transcends cultural boundaries and tells America’s story in a powerful and contemporary way.”
“Hamilton” is currently running at the Kennedy Center through Sept. 16. Also being recognized for “Hamilton” will be director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire.
Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment will executive produce the special, and Weiss will return as director. George Stevens, Jr. was the founding producer of the event.
The recipients are selected by a special advisory committee of the Kennedy Center, and are approved by the executive committee of the center’s board of trustees.
Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein outlined the accomplishments of the honorees in a statement.
“Cher is the consummate star, wowing generations of fans with her distinctive voice, blockbuster albums and glittering on-screen presence; Philip Glass is a modern-day Mozart whose works across opera, symphony, chamber music and film define contemporary music and simply transfix us; country songstress Reba McEntire has inspired us over five decades with her powerhouse voice and music that conveys heartfelt, heartwarming honesty; Wayne Shorter is a seminal artist, defying categorization while carrying forward the mantle of jazz; and the creators of ‘Hamilton’ have literally and figuratively changed the face of American culture with daringly original, breathtakingly relevant work.”