After Dick Van Dyke received a phone call telling him that he had been chosen as a Kennedy Center Laureate, he did what he said not to: he called his family to share the good news.
And why not? He is the 95-year old statesman of show business, whose television name is credited with helping create American sitcoms for decades.
“My wife answered the call and the advice was ‘Congratulations, but don’t tell anyone,’” Van Dyke said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “You can’t do that! I immediately called all my relatives. I couldn’t hold them. ”
Now, Van Dyke has added to his bio, one of the nation’s highest art honors.Other recipients announced Wednesday by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts include singer, songwriter and performer. Activity Joan Baez; Country music star Garth Brooks; Actress, choreographer and producer Debbie Allen; And Midori, the violinist
Last year, an outbreak of the pandemic caused a schedule for the Kennedy Center Honors to take place in December.The performances and ceremonies involved in the show were postponed to May, with the scheduled airing on June 6 on the channel. CBS
Another big change is in the changing political winds: While President Trump has not attended the honors during his tenure or held a traditional White House reception for the honors. But President-elect Biden is expected to bring the relationship back on track.
In a regular year, the program will feature an opera house full of celebrities, honors and donors to celebrate the honors. This year, the show will be filmed on the Kennedy Center campus – sometimes with a small live audience, or the film crew will travel to the show if they can’t get to Washington.
The center hopes to have a normal reception at the White House and a ceremony at the State Department where ribbons are distributed.
But some traditions are out of question.
“The dinner with 2,000 people in the lobby will never take place,” said Deborah Ruther, Kennedy Center President. “We will do this in the safest and most respectful way only.”
The awardees – selected on the advice of an advisory committee including Kennedy Center staff and former award recipients – represent folk, country and classical music, as well as theater and television.
Baez’s career as a singer-songwriter has long been linked to her political movement, which began with the civil rights movement and then the anti-war protests, 80-year-old Baez said she now thinks. That painting is her main work of art When it comes to her legacy, she wants to be remembered for “good trouble,” she said, referring to John Lewis’s agent instead of the reward.
“I didn’t want to be too respectful,” she said in an interview and laughed, “but of course I accepted and thought the ‘good problem’ that I lived through was part of why I received this award.”
Although these honors passed the stage. “Struggling artists” in their careers for a long time. But it was not lost to them who won this award in a crisis in their industry due to the plague shutdown.
Brooks, the No. 1 best-selling solo artist in U.S. history according to the Record Industry Association of America, said he feared the musician who was in the position he had been 30 years ago playing bars and clubs. In the hope that this will lead to a memorandum of agreement
“The carpet was pulled from underneath,” Brooks, 58, said. “How will this affect the music industry in the future? It’s a big question.”
Over the past 10 months, these five artists have found safe ways to share their art and interact with their audience. Baez has exhibited her paintings such as; Allen has taught live dance classes to more than 35,000 virtual audiences, and Van Dyke said he was delighted to learn from fan letters that some children at home from school had discovered “The Dick Van Dyke Show. “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (“I have a new fan!” He said).
For Midori, 49, a Japanese violinist who gained prominence in the United States after she performed with the New York Philharmonic at age 11, the outbreak sparked more appreciation for her performance. Shown in front of an audience in the flesh She held virtual workshops and master classes during the outbreak.
“It made me realize how precious the moment I live is,” she said.
At a time when the country was a wasteland for the performing arts, there was a desire to let this spring honors program lead to rebirth.
Allen, 70, has long been in the art promotion business of a significant national interest. After establishing herself as a Broadway actress, she was recognized for her roles in “West Side Story” and “Sweet Charity”. Then, for her “Fame” choreography, Allen served as an actress. Ambassador of Culture under President George W. Bush traveling abroad To teach and talk about dancing
Allen said that during a national crisis, she viewed art as a salvation – including a space to discuss the most pressing issues of the day (in “The Anatomy of Gray,” which Allen produces, directs and operates COVID. -19 is the main storyline)
“As a country, everyone is looking for the light because the storm is taking over,” Allen says, “and art is always the answer.”