The event, a fundraiser for the Washington, D.C. arts center that brought in $6 million last year, set for December 6. CBS will again broadcast, on December 29.Star Wars patriarch George Lucas, actresses Cicely Tyson and Rita Moreno, songwriter Carole King, conductor Seiji Ozawa and the Eagles will be saluted at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors.
It is the event’s 38th year but the first to be produced by Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss at White Cherry Entertainment. George Stevens Jr. had produced every year previous. White Cherry has produced CBS-broadcast Tony Awards for the past 13 years, and also the Emmy Awards, NFL Opening Kickoff and Super Bowl Halftime Shows, among other programs.
Among this year’s honorees, King is being feted weeks after the touring production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical stops at the Kennedy Center in October. The next installment of the Lucas-spawned Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens, drops in the period between the ceremony and its CBS broadcast. Those are coincidences, Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter told The Washington Post which, in years past, has been given the list of honorees in advance, under embargo.
In its announcement, the Kennedy Center said the honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts, are selected by the center’s board of trustees and that the primary criterion in the selection process is excellence.
Honorees were announced two months earlier than usual, in order to give organizers more time to book performers, Rutter says.