Tag Archives: Presidential Medal of Freedom

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kennedy Center Honors: Our top 50 recommendations who need to be chosen include Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli, Jessica Lange, Bette Midler

Mister D: Ok, I admit that I’m prejudiced, but this list could be whittled down in seconds for me. My standards are high, well in some things, and some of these people don’t really belong on this list. Gold Derby Kennedy Center Honors: Our top 50 recommendations who need to be chosen include Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli, Jessica Lange, Bette Midler Chris Beachum April 11, 2018 6:00AM The next recipients for the Kennedy Center Honors will be announced in the late summer, often around Labor Day. The all-star event is held each year in the nation’s capital during the first weekend in December and then airs on CBS as a two-hour special after Christmas. Each year, the selection committee chooses five entertainment veterans from a variety of fields – film, television, popular music, theatre, and the fine arts (dance, opera, classical music). Selected artists are almost always over 50 and generally are 60 and beyond. The first recipients in 1978 were singer Marian Anderson, actor and dancer Fred Astaire, choreographer George Balanchine, composer Richard Rodgers and conductor Arthur Rubinstein. The most recent honorees in 2017 for the 40th anniversary program were dancer Carmen de Lavallade, singer Gloria Estefan, singer LL Cool J, producer and writer Norman Lear and singer Lionel Richie. But there are a number of notable performers missing from the honors roll. Our photo gallery features 50 entertainers who deserve to be selected soon. For our purposes a person must be at least 60 years old to be in our gallery. We are not going to include the retired Doris Day and Gene Hackman as well as the reclusive Woody Allen since attendance at the event is mandatory. Tour through our photos and sound off in the forums about who you think should be selected soon. 1. Dick Van Dyke Van Dyke is just an Oscar away from EGOT status. He is a five-time Emmy Award winner for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Van Dyke and Company,” and “The Wrong Way Kid.” He won a Tony Award for “Bye Bye Birdie” (1961) and a Grammy Award for “Mary Poppins” (1964). Van Dyke is a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame and received the Screen Actors Guild life achievement award in 2013. 2. Liza Minnelli Minnelli is very close to EGOT, having never won a Grammy Award before. She won a Tony Award for “Flora the Red Menace” (1965), an Oscar for “Cabaret” (1973), and an Emmy for “Liza with a Z” (1973). The daughter of legendary entertainer Judy Garland, other films have included “The Sterile Cuckoo” (1969, her first Oscar nomination), “New York, New York” (1977), and “Arthur” (1981). 3. Denzel Washington Washington is the only African-American with two Academy Awards for acting (“Glory,” 1989; “Training Day,” 2001). His other Oscar nominations were for “Cry Freedom” (1987), “Malcolm X” (1992), “The Hurricane” (1999), “Flight” (2012), “Fences” (2016, producing and acting), and “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” (2017). He also won a Tony Award for the same role in “Fences” (2010). 4. Gladys Knight The “Empress of Soul” started her career in 1952 on Ted Mack’s “Original Amateur Hour” TV show. Her group Gladys Knight and the Pips joined Motown in 1966 and became one of the top recording artists of the 1960s and 1970s with such hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “If I Were Your Woman,” “Neither One of Us,” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The six-time Grammy winner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. 5. Mick Jagger Whether he gets selected by himself (like Paul McCartney) or with his group The Rolling Stones (like The Who and Led Zeppelin), this honor is long overdue. The lead singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with his band in 1989. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003. Their lengthy list of hit singles has included “Satisfaction,” “Get Off My Cloud,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Brown Sugar,” “Wild Horses,” “Angie,” and “Start Me Up.” 6. Jessica Lange Lange is just one notch away from EGOT. She is a two-time Academy Award winner (“Tootsie,” 1982; “Blue Sky,” 1994) among her six nominations. She is a three-time Emmy champ (“Grey Gardens,” 2009; “American Horror Story,” 2012; and “American Horror Story: Coven,” 2014). Lange won a Tony Award in 2016 for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” Other films in her career have included “Frances,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Crimes of the Heart,” “Cape Fear,” and “Big Fish.” 7. Alan Alda Alda has established himself as a triple threat on television, on stage, and in films. He won five Emmy Awards for the legendary comedy series “M*A*S*H” spread out over acting, directing, and writing (the only person to prevail in only three fields). He also took home a sixth Emmy for his role on “The West Wing” and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1994. He’s been nominated at the Oscars (“The Aviator,”), Grammys (“Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself,” 2008), and three times at the Tony Awards (“The Apple Tree,” 1967; “Jake’s Women,” 1992; “Glengarry Glen Ross,” 2005). 8. Bette Midler Midler was a big hit right out of the gates when she won Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards in 1974. It was the first of three Grammys along with three Emmys for her variety specials and a Tony Award in 2017 for “Hello, Dolly.” That just puts her an Oscar away from EGOT, and she has competed at those awards twice as a leading actress for “The Rose” and “For the Boys.” 9. Harrison Ford Ford is the biggest box office star in American history but still hasn’t had much of an awards career but did receive an Oscar nomination for “Witness” (1985). He was awarded the American Film Institute life achievement in 2000 and the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in 2002. His film career has included “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Working Girl,” “Regarding Henry,” “Patriot Games,” “The Fugitive,” “Air Force One,” and “42.” 10. Reba McEntire McEntire is a Country Music Hall of Fame member who has been one of the most popular singers and performers in the 1980s and beyond. She has had the most CMA Award nominations (49) and ACM Awards nominations (45) of any female artist. She has won two Grammy Awards for “Whoever’s in New England” (1987) and “Does He Love You?” (1994) among her 12 career nominations. McEntire has had a successful TV show with “Reba” (2001-2007) and was widely acclaimed for her Broadway debut in “Annie Get Your Gun” (2001). 11. Tommy Tune Tune has been one of the top choreographers and dancers in Broadway history. He is a nine-time Tony Award winner for his performances in “Seesaw” and “My One and Only,” for his direction of “Nine,” “Grand Hotel” and “The Will Rogers Follies” and choreography of “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine,” “My One and Only,” “Grand Hotel” and “The Will Rogers Follies.” 12. Betty White White is one of the favorite comedic performers in TV history and was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1995. She has won five prime-time Emmy Awards for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls,” “The John Larroquette Show” and “Saturday Night Live” plus a Daytime Emmy for “Just Men.” 13. Burt Bacharach Bacharach has composed hundreds of songs in his lengthy career, many of them popular hits. He is a three-time Oscar winner for his original song and score in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and original song in “Arthur.” He is a two-time Grammy champ for “Cassidy” and “I Still Have That Other Girl” plus an Emmy winner for his 1971 variety special. 14. Diane Keaton Keaton is an Oscar-winning actress (“Annie Hall,” 1977) who has been primarily working in films since the early 1970s. Her career has included “The Godfather,” “Reds,” “Marvin’s Room,” “Baby Boom,” “Father of the Bride,” “The First Wives Club” and “Something’s Gotta Give.” She was the 2017 recipient of the American Film Institute life achievement award. 15. Arturo Sandoval The Cuban-born Sandoval is one of the greatest trumpet players in music history. He defected to America in 1990 while performing with previous KCH recipient Dizzy Gillespie. He is a 10-time Grammy winner, Emmy winner and recipient of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom. 16. Cynthia Gregory Gregory is one of the most famous American prima ballerinas of recent decades. She first became well known in San Francisco as a teenager before joining the American Ballet Theatre in 1965. She has had roles in “Giselle,”” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Coppelia,” “Don Quixote,” “The Eternal Idol” and “At Midnight.” 17. Bob Newhart Newhart has proven to be one of the most beloved comedians in American history since the early 1960s. In fact he won at the 1961 Grammy Awards as Best New Artist and for Album of the Year. He was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1993 for his roles on “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Newhart.” He won his only Emmy Award in 2013 for a guest role on “The Big Bang Theory.” He was the 2002 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center. 18. Whoopi Goldberg Goldberg is one of the few people who have achieved EGOT in her entertainment career. She won an Oscar for “Ghost,” a Grammy for her comedy album “Direct From Broadway,” a Tony Award for producing “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and a Daytime Emmy for hosting “The View.” Other film roles have included “The Color Purple,” “Sister Act” and “The Lion King.” She was the 2001 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center.

19. Jerry Lee Lewis ...  Read More

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

BetteBack December 12, 1993: Bette Midler, Center Stage; Belting It As Mama Rose In CBS’s Remake Of `Gypsy’

The Washington Post Bette Midler, Center Stage; Belting It As Mama Rose In CBS’s Remake Of `Gypsy‘ December 12, 1993 | Tom Shales 300390_323276217768838_1821228022_n Not many Christmas trees will be lit up brighter than Bette Midler in “Gypsy,” the new television adaptation of the great 1959 Broadway musical. Midler gives one of her knock-’em-dead, all-or-nothing performances; even when it isn’t quite right it seems somehow, well, quite right. Midler is following in many a famous footstep; other actresses who have played the part of Mama Rose, the mother of superstripper Gypsy Rose Lee, include Rosalind Russell, Angela Lansbury and Tyne Daly. But the definitive Rose was of course the first, Ethel Merman, whose performance was a memorably defiant tour de force. The crucial moment in the new version, which CBS airs tonight at 8 on Channel 9, probably comes midway through the show. According to the plot, loosely based on the stripper’s memoirs, Mama Rose and her vaudeville troupe have just hit rock bottom and hit it hard, the chorus boys having deserted them and Rose’s favored daughter, June, having eloped. Rose summons all her resolve and determines to make her neglected daughter, Louise, the star. It’s at this point she sings the most inspired and durable song in Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim‘s socko score: “Ev’rything’s Coming Up Roses,” essentially a parody of all the picker-upper songs ever written, but with an ironic acidic edge. Midler knocks it out of the park. She does it justice and then some. Simply speaking, it’s goose pimple time. Midler may not quite have Merman’s amazing ability to be poignant even while at full throttle, but she does put the number over with a very big bang. A high point like this can make low points seem insignificant, and this production has its share of weaknesses. The late Emile Ardolino, who directed, chose a cautious approach. This “Gypsy” is very much a filmed play, hewing closely to the original Arthur Laurents book, though not shot on a stage in front of an audience. As a result, there sometimes seems to be a curious veil over the show that the performers must work hard to break through. Adhering so closely to the book means that this is a truly authentic “Gypsy” that can be rerun unto eternity and give people an accurate version of the original (at this it’s much better than the 1962 movie with Russell). But it also means that the show comes across as somewhat dated, even a bit clunky. The decision to include at considerable length all of the hackneyed vaudeville routines that Rose devises for her offspring seems a mistake. On the other hand, as the musical “Gypsy” was in part a tribute to the vaudeville and burlesque of another era, so this new version of “Gypsy” can be seen as a lively memorial to the musical theater, which has never seen days as golden as the era that “Gypsy” capped. This is not just a production but an act of preservation. Midler, to her credit, gets all the comedy and all the drama out of the character of Rose, and most of the pathos too. Rose is loud, pushy, abrasive, coarse – the mother of all stage mothers. But you have to love her for the show to succeed, and Midler works that particular wonder. At times, however, her performance verges into the grotesque. She’ll strike a pose that unfortunately brings to mind Gloria Swanson descending the staircase at the end of “Sunset Boulevard.” She looks garish and demented. Among the weak spots in the production is the odd casting of Peter Riegert as Herbie, Rose’s long-suffering manager and would-be suitor. The part appears to have been beefed up so Riegert can do more singing than Herbie usually does, but why??? Riegert is so stilted in some scenes he’s practically robotic. Fortunately, the rest of the cast comes through. Cynthia Gibb is touching and gorgeous as the ignored Louise, though her transformation into a striptease artist is not particularly believable. Jennifer Beck is sweet as her pampered sister, June. Edward Asner plays Rose’s skinflint father, a part that is one scene and only a few lines long; Christine Ebersole has a merry time as seasoned stripper Tessie Tura, who doesn’t show up until the final half-hour or so; Michael Jeter has a mere cameo as Mr. Goldstone, small-time impresario; and Andrea Martin, one of the noble comic actresses of our time, niftily magnifies the small role of a producer’s secretary. Some of Jerome Robbins‘s original staging and choreography have been retained. But don’t believe those who say this is 100 percent faithful to 1959. The original show included an audacious production number in which Minsky’s saluted Christmas, with strippers in strategically placed ornaments and lights. It was eliminated from the 1962 film, and even 34 years after the Broadway original, that satiric touch is apparently still considered too irreverent for general audiences. Instead we get Minsky’s salutes the Garden of Eden. All the songs were retained, however, including “Together, Wherever We Go,” cut from the 1962 film after its initial release. Gibb does an especially touching job on “Little Lamb,” the birthday song of a girl whose mother won’t tell her how old she really is because it’s bad for business. Most of the effects are theatrical rather than cinematic. In the original show, Louise, June and the chorus boys grow up before the audience’s eyes; while strobe lights flash and the kids do their hokey act, older versions of the characters replace the younger ones. Ardolino duplicates this but then mars it by superimposing the names of cities visited by the troupe. “Gypsy” rests on Midler’s shoulders, and she carries that weight splendidly. From an early moment when she announces with a huge grin that her daughter is going to be a star, to the shot of her mimicking her daughters’ routines in the wings, to the tumultuous, cathartic finale of “Rose’s Turn,” Midler glows, shines, radiates. It’s a pity that more of the classic Broadway musicals haven’t been faithfully preserved on film or tape. The pay-cable networks seemed interested in this at first, then gave it up in favor of sexier, snappier fare. CBS is upholding the honor of broadcast network television tonight by attempting something HBO would never do. Even if its ratings turn out to be not so hot, it’s likely that more people will see “Gypsy” tonight than have seen it in all its previous incarnations. Chances are they will have a helluva good time. Unarguably they will be seeing a helluva good show.
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