The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced the selection of the five individuals who will receive the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors. Recipients to be honored at the 37th annual national celebration of the arts are: singer Al Green, actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks, ballerina Patricia McBride, singer-songwriter Sting , and comedienne Lily Tomlin. Tomlin will be the first-ever openly gay person to take home the honor. “The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “…from the days of her early television and theatrical appearances, Lily Tomlin has made us laugh and continues to amaze us with her acting talent and quick wit,” he added. Many gay and bisexual men have taken home the honor, including Tennessee Williams, Stephen Sondheim, Aaron Copland, Edward Albee, Elton John, and Merce Cunningham, but no out lesbian has until now.
The event will be broadcast live on Sunday, December 7, in a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage. The President and Mrs. Obama will receive the Honorees and members of the Artists Committee who nominate them, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees at the White House prior to the gala performance.