Five artists have been announced as the recipients of the 46th Kennedy Center Honors. Actor and comedian Billy Crystal, actor and famed soprano Renée Fleming, British singer-songwriter and original Bee Gees member Barry Gibb, recording artist and actor Queen Latifah as well as singer Dionne Warwick will be recognized. The honors celebrate individuals who have contributed to American life and culture through the performing arts.
Former Kennedy Center honoree Gloria Estefan will host the ceremony for her third time. The ceremony, which will be held on Dec. 3, will later air on the CBS Television Network and stream on Paramount+.
Six-time Emmy Award winner Crystal is also a Tony Award winner. The solo show “700 Sundays,” which Crystal starred in and produced, first bowed on the Main Stem in 2004 and earned him a 2005 Tony for Special Theatrical Event. It returned to Broadway in 2013. The 2022 musical “Mr. Saturday Night,” based on the film of the same name, featured Crystal in a role he first originated in the movie. The production — with a book by Crystal, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel — garnered Crystal two Tony nominations: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical and Best Book of a Musical.
“I am overwhelmed to be part of this fantastic group of artists,” Crystal said in a statement. “I started performing when I was five years old, making my parents and family laugh. Those laughs have carried me my entire life and career. I so wish they could be at the Kennedy Center for this glorious occasion. It has been a thrilling lifetime of performing in so many different arenas, and my heart is full of gratitude to the Kennedy Center, my wife Janice, my children and grandchildren, our family and friends and all the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. And finally, of course, my wonderful fans.”
Fleming, a classical singer and five-time Grammy winner, has three Main Stem performing credits to her name: in the comedy “Living on Love,” as a special guest “My Love Letter to Broadway” and in the 2018 revival of “Carousel.” For the latter, Fleming received a Tony nomination for her turn as Nettie Fowler.
“How thrilling to join the company of legendary artists who have received this recognition,” Fleming said in a statement. “This award demonstrates the richness and range of the performing arts in our country, and the Kennedy Center’s celebration is a powerful expression of our culture. Music has defined the arc of my life, giving voice to an introverted child, taking me to places I never dreamed of visiting and people I never dreamed of meeting. Most of all, it has shown me the enormous potential for healing and joy that the arts offer everyone. Having looked with awe at the honorees in that box at the Kennedy Center opera house, I’m incredibly grateful to think I will be among them.”
Gibb, a founding member of the Bee Gees, also has three Broadway credits. In 1982 “Rock 'N Roll! The First 5,000 Years” opened featuring songs by Gibb. Then, 1999’s “Saturday Night Fever” featured music by the Bee Gees and songs written by Gibb. The singer-songwriter also had songs featured in “Grease.” He is a nine-time Grammy winner who has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“This is a wonderful honor! It’s hard to be proud and humble at the same time,” Gibb said in a statement. “It is one of the most special moments in my life and something that I will always cherish. When I think back over 50 years to our beginnings in Redcliffe, Queensland, I could never have expected this to happen in my life. Receiving the Kennedy Center Honors is something that everyone hopes might happen one day. I’ve often thought about, but never dreamed, it could come true. Thank you to all those who made this dream a reality. I wish my brothers were here so that they could’ve shared in this special moment.”
The Kennedy Center Honors are produced by Done+Dusted in association with ROK Productions, represented by Elizabeth Kelly, who will executive produce alongside David Jammy. The Kennedy Center Honors founding producer is George Stevens, Jr.