Theater News

Bette Midler, Joni Mitchell, and More Join Ranks of Kennedy Center Honorees

The 44th class of celebrated artists will be honored in a ceremony on December 5.

Tony winner Bette Midler and Joni Mitchell are among this year's Kennedy Center honorees.
Tony winner Bette Midler and Joni Mitchell are among this year's Kennedy Center honorees.
(© images courtesy of the Kennedy Center)

The Kennedy Center has announced its 44th class of honorees, whose lifetime artistic achievement will be celebrated at a gala on Sunday, December 5.

This year's five honorees are operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz; Motown founder, songwriter, producer, and director Berry Gordy; Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels; legendary stage and screen icon Bette Midler; and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.

Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein offered the following statement about the recipients: "The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates luminaries whose art and creativity have enriched us beyond measure. With his distinguished, deeply resonant voice and storied operatic career, Justino Díaz, stood on the stages of the world's great opera houses and today stands as one of the greatest bass-baritones of our time; visionary music producer and songwriter Berry Gordy brought the quintessential soulfulness of Detroit into every home in America, elevating the Motown sound to become a national treasure; Lorne Michaels created the most enduring ‘must-see television' with Saturday Night Live, a show that is both mirror and muse for life in America; an artistic tour de force and America's Divine Miss M, Bette Midler has enjoyed an unrivaled and prolific career, entertaining millions with her wondrous voice and trademark comedic wit; and songstress Joni Mitchell, blends raw, deeply personal lyrics with her stunningly ethereal voice in 19 albums, becoming one of the most influential singer-songwriters and cultural figures in 20th-century popular music."

The annual ceremony, featuring a star-studded slate of performances, will be held December 5 on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, and will be broadcast on the CBS Television Network at a later date. The two-hour primetime special will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount Plus.