Tonight, John Kennedy would have been 104 years old. His revolutionary library currently houses more than a million acres of genealogical information on more than 10 million Americans and he would have been simply one of several – but in 1982, his daughter Kathleen worked with producer Marvin Hamlisch and filmmaker Robert Wise to turn the old show train into the launch of an entire genre. They created the beloved televised musical Kennedy Center Honors. He would surely be thrilled to know that this weekend, in celebration of his long life and other’s achievements, a very special specially decorated Kennedy Center Chairman’s box will be constructed specially just for us.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, in this photo on the set of a 1978 special, keeps a family promise to refurbish the space in the Kennedy Center’s National Theater for future generations. Photograph: David Cason/New York Times
You can find a full program of highlights from tonight’s performance here, but here are a few things you may have missed:
The stage orchestra gave us a rendition of Kennedy Center’s anthem “A Chaise Longue”;
Neil Patrick Harris played the keyboard for the orchestra’s Ode to Joy;
The stage orchestra gave us an electric rendition of the American songbook classic song, “Star-Spangled Banner”;
The final number, John Williams’ Symphony No. 7, a lunar romp celebrating JKL’s love of space exploration;
The three award recipients – singer Diana Ross, composer Philip Glass and dancer Alvin Ailey – performed with husband and wife troupers Rene and Gloria Estefan.
A self-taught pianist, Mozart once composed a tune called “Future Plays.” For an after-show party last night, this afternoon we watched the James Taylor and Carole King on a piano set up in the Oval Office.
The three award recipients – composer Philip Glass, dancer Alvin Ailey and singer Diana Ross – performed with husband and wife troupers Rene and Gloria Estefan.
An urn containing Kennedy’s ashes was burned on stage during the Kennedy Center Honors;
JFK’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was at last night’s show.
A very special specially-decorated Kennedy Center Chairman’s box will be constructed specifically for you next Saturday to salute John Kennedy’s career and legacy – the week after his 104th birthday.
In this video below, JKL’s daughter Kathleen Kennedy Townsend explains how special the Presidential box is, built specifically with gifts given to this family personally from future generations.
Watch this video and more from tonight’s Kennedy Center Honors show HERE.
In this photo from Monday’s rehearsal, Seu Jorge, the MacArthur-prize winning Uruguayan saxophonist, was warmed up by Bob Dylan while warming up from the Audience’s Green Room