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Bette Midler Among The 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honorees Held On December 5th

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Bette Midler, Berry Gordy, Joni Mitchell, More Among 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honorees
BY ANDREW GANS
JUL 21, 2021 


Bette Midler on 9/2/93 in Chicago, Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)
Bette Midler on 9/2/93 in Chicago, Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

Recipients, who will be honored at the annual national celebration of the arts in Washington, D.C., also include operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz; Motown founder, songwriter, producer, and director Berry GordySaturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels; and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.

“The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates luminaries whose art and creativity have enriched us beyond measure,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “With his distinguished, deeply resonant voice and storied operatic career, Justino Díaz, stood on the stages of the world’s great opera houses and today stands as one of the greatest bass-baritones of our time; visionary music producer and songwriter Berry Gordy brought the quintessential soulfulness of Detroit into every home in America, elevating the Motown sound to become a national treasure; Lorne Michaels created the most enduring ‘must-see television’ with Saturday Night Live, a show that is both mirror and muse for life in America; an artistic tour de force and America’s Divine Miss M, Bette Midler has enjoyed an unrivaled and prolific career, entertaining millions with her wondrous voice and trademark comedic wit; and songstress Joni Mitchell, blends raw, deeply personal lyrics with her stunningly ethereal voice in 19 albums, becoming one of the most influential singer-songwriters and cultural figures in 20th-century popular music.”

This year’s honorees will be celebrated December 5 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in an evening produced by Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment. The Honors Gala will be recorded for subsequent broadcasts on CBS.


Bette Midler in the records shattering hit on Broadway, "Hello Dolly"
Bette Midler in the records shattering hit on Broadway, “Hello Dolly”

“This year’s Honorees represent the unifying power of the Arts and surely remind us of that which binds us together as human beings. These artists are equal parts genius, inspiration, and entertainment,” added Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. “After the challenges and heartbreak of the last many months, and as we celebrate 50 years of the Kennedy Center, I dare add that we are prepared to throw ‘the party to end all parties in D.C. on December 5th, feting these extraordinary people and welcoming audiences back to our campus. We look forward to sharing an even more exciting Honors program and broadcast with CBS and the producers based on the success and newfound innovations of our 43rd Honors earlier this year.”

The recipients are recognized for their contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in music, dance, theatre, opera, motion pictures, or television—and are confirmed by the Executive Committee of the Center’s Board of Trustees.

Last year’s honorees included Tony nominee Debbie Allen, Tony winner Dick Van Dyke, singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez, country singer-songwriter Garth Brooks, and violinist Midori.


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8 thoughts on “Bette Midler Among The 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honorees Held On December 5th

      1. Can we dream? LOL

        Pink
        Melissa Etheridge
        Kelly Clarkson
        Ana Kendrick
        Mandy Moore
        Adele
        America Ferrera
        Sinead O’Connor

      2. If Ariana Grande shows up singing You Don’t Own Me and Lady Gaga shows up to sing The Rose l’ll just fucking kill myself LOL

        1. I will kill you for even putting that out into the universe. lol I fixed Melissa for you. Hey, do you think they might do something like have Tom Waits sing Shiver Me Timbers or is he just a little too out there. Do you think they let Bette have any say? Patti Labelle has been in one of her tours…she said boy did she sing the shit out of Over The Rainbow lol Cher, Elton, but I don’t think they’d do justice to her stuff.

  1. My dear, I’m so happy that she will be there wearing that rainbow necklace that holds the medal ( it’s perfect for her from day one haha) and that people will be kissing her ass as much as she deserves, but I must confess I’m afraid to get upset afterwards bc the show “didn’t do her justice”. I always get on these kind of stuff…I don’t even watch those shows. I’m not sure it is being aired here anymore…

    Yes, i think Tom Waits is a great idea, I do think he is a little too out there and that’s why I love him Hahahahha. The other day I was listening to I never to talk strangers and they were so perfect together. It was one of the first songs I’ve heard from Bette and I was so young and I just love it. I still can’t get over the fact they didn’t record that album together. LOL

    Sorry for putting that thought out in the universe. That was actually a huge mistake LOL. You know I’m a powerful witch, for better or worse hahahahaha

    Check your WhatsApp

    Xoxo

    P.S: we are so cringe

  2. I’m over the moon about this! When you posted the form to push for her a few years back I dutifully filled it out. I think I’m actually responsible for her finally getting selected. Ha! There are so many directions they could go in, tribute-wise, considering the breadth of Bette’s music career. These tributes have had some stellar moments — Ann Wilson singing Led Zeppelin was amazing; Aretha Franklin performing “Natural Woman” as Carole King watched, etc. So…lots to contemplate. It would be SO cool if Tom Waits came on and performed “Shiver Me Timbers” I agree!

    1. Heart doing Led Zeppelin bowled me over as did Aretha Franklin. I remember seeing Betty Lavette re-interpreting, oh my God, was it The Who”s Reign On Me and it seemed like, and i guess for good reason, nobody knew who she was, and she just brought and the agony in that song and transformed it. I remember Barbra Streisand, who had made some faces like she was feeling the music. She leaned down and tapped someone on the shoulder and said “Who is that?” I could tell she had no idea but she made a look like “incredible”. Anybody interested should look her up. She’s been in the business for decades and she finally got noticed in her 60’s reimagining classics with such intensity that sometimes its hard to listen to a whole album. But she finally gained a cult following and is a critic favorite. I had never seen her perform before and she’s almost one of those you have to see live to really appreciate her.

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