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'Hamilton' to be celebrated at Kennedy Center Honors

News Desk

Agence France-Presse

Washington, United States | Fri, July 27, 2018 | 07:06 am
'Hamilton' to be celebrated at Kennedy Center Honors

Lin-Manuel Miranda, actor and creator of the of the play 'Hamilton', addresses the audience after the plays opening night on Broadway in New York August 6, 2015. (REUTERS/File Photo/Lucas Jackson)

The groundbreaking musical Hamilton will be celebrated this year at the Kennedy Center Honors, one of America's top celebrations of the arts -- the first time a work rather than an individual or group is recognized.

The Kennedy Center, the performing arts complex in Washington that serves as a living monument to slain president John F. Kennedy, announced Wednesday that it will also honor leading composer Philip Glass, pop superstar Cher, country crooner Reba McEntire and jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter on December 2.

The Kennedy Center Honors traditionally take place in the presence of the president but Donald Trump, despised by many cultural and entertainment figures, skipped the gala evening last year.

The 2018 edition looks unlikely to be any different as both Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Cher are vociferous critics of Trump.

Hamilton, a production of which recently opened at the Kennedy Center, is still one of the hottest tickets on Broadway, years after its 2015 premiere.

The musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton and fellow founding fathers of the United States -- but through the lens of modern, multiethnic America, with rap and hip-hop numbers mixed in with more traditional show tunes.

The Kennedy Center said in a statement that it was recognizing the "trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category".

Read also: 'Hamilton' musical creator to premiere Chicago exhibition

"This year's slate of honorees represents the pinnacle of our nation's originality and the rich mosaic of diverse perspectives and art forms that has come to define who we are as a people," Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter said.

The 81-year-old Glass, generally considered the foremost living US composer, earlier this year made his performance debut at the Kennedy Center, testing himself by appearing as a pianist.

Cher, 72, is the former half of folk duo Sonny and Cher, who has transformed herself into a concert-packing pop performer and Oscar-winning actress.

She holds the record for the longest gap between number-one songs on the US chart at nearly 25 years, and is currently starring in a sequel to the Abba film musical Mamma Mia!

Shorter, 84, performed with Miles Davis and went on to become a leading bandleader and improviser on both soprano and tenor saxophone, including with his group Weather Report.

McEntire became a top country star in the 1980s, originally with a sound that blended pop and gradually with a more traditional sound.

McEntire, who has also starred on Broadway and in film, has been circumspect about politics, saying she avoids the topic so as not to alienate fans who paid to see her.

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