Sidney Poitier

December 29, 2010 by  

Sidney Poitier, (AP) – Oprah Winfrey has come a long way since his childhood years in a shack in Mississippi and in public housing with a Beatles poster on his bedroom wall. Sunday she was honored with Paul McCartney, one of the Beatles that she so loved.

Hollywood stars and Broadway Nashville met in the capital to greet Winfrey, McCartney and three others – the country singer Merle Haggard, Broadway composer Jerry Herman and dancer Bill T. Jones – with the Kennedy Center Honors. The president and first lady Michelle Obama sat down with the winners and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Julia Roberts opened the show with a surprise nod to her friend Winfrey.

“This is a universal conversation starter: You saw what now “Oprah” was? Roberts said.” The first time I heard of a better fitting bra … or a fascinating politician named Barack Obama was on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Roberts said she was nervous at the crowd near Washington, but pushed to look under their seats for a price – the style Winfrey.

John Travolta took the stage to host a mock version of the show with Barbara Walters Winfrey as guest. He recounted a phone call he received from Winfrey when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. She told him to fill his airplane medical supplies and a meeting in Louisiana.

“So when Oprah calls, you answer,” he said. Oprah makes exciting to be responsible. ”

Walters said she should get credit to revive the career of the 56-year Winfrey. She said that the talk show host to come once imitated the style Walters to win a contest of Miss Fire Prevention, but has developed a style all her own.

In other words, it is the best interviewer ever, “said Walters.” No one comes close – not even I and those of you know me know how it is painful for me was to say that… ”

Jennifer Hudson sang “I’m here” from “The Color Purple, which Winfrey on Broadway after starring in the film. Hudson was joined by a choir of Winfrey’s alma mater, Tennessee State University.

For Winfrey, the price is in the 25th and final season of her talk show and just before it launches its new cable network, clean, to Jan. 1. After his visit to Washington, Winfrey will have about 300 members of the audience in Australia.

“You know what’s interesting is that she spends her life to celebrate other, but when the time comes for her, she is very reluctant,” Winfrey’s best friend Gayle King told The Associated Press. King said it was a fitting tribute to Winfrey.

“They recognized his body of work,” said King. “It is not just a talk show host.”

Alec Baldwin presented the tribute to Paul McCartney, 68, lamenting the singer’s “long and winding road” to a solo career, being forced to sing in stadiums and requiring police protection.

“The National Institutes of Health called Beatlemania epidemic,” Baldwin said. “There was no cure.”

The former Beatle was on his second visit to Washington this year for a culture award. In June, he won the popular Gershwin song from the Library of Congress.

“You know, great things come in bundles,” he said.

Gwen Stefani, wearing a gray “Fab Four-style pants suit, and his band, No Doubt, opened the series with musical” Hello, Goodbye. “Dave Grohl and Norah Jones sing “Maybe I’m Amazed”.

In what is perhaps a first, the Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has made an “Abbey Road” medley live? Show producer George Stevens Jr. said The Beatles never performed live after the recording was made.

“I did many things and a lot of places,” said Tyler. “But I’ve never been as proud as I am standing here on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Abbey Road.”

James Taylor and Mavis Staples closed the show with “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude”. They McCartney – and the president – on their feet all the time.

When the Beatles stormed America, Haggard, 73, was free of the prison and make music, Herman, 79, was taken to sing Broadway and Jones, 58, was not yet a dancer, but growing up in a camp for migrant workers.

Since the 1960s, the new Kennedy Center award winners have helped define the television, dance, theater and music.

At a ceremony at the White House before you see the Sunday, they heard the praises of Barack Obama who said the awards are important because the arts are necessary.

“Although the winners on that stage each have an incredible amount of talent, the truth is, they are not recognized simply because tonight their careers as great songwriters or songwriters or dancers or artists, Obama said.”Instead, they are known for their unique ability to bring us closer and capture something of who we are -. Not just as Americans but as human beings”

The show was recorded for broadcast Sunday night on Dec. 28 on CBS.

At the gala, Angela Lansbury, Carol Channing and Kelsey Grammar made a few tunes from Herman’s famous “Hello, Dolly !”,” Mame,” and “La Cage aux Folles.”

Lansbury said Herman gave him a huge break when he insisted she be cast in the lead role of “Mame” despite objections from some producers. She said she never had a better entrance to slide on a ramp on stage along with trumpet in hand.

Channing, 89, who starred in “Hello, Dolly!” sang “Hello, Jerry.” She said she knew it would cry.

For Haggard, Nashville came into force.

Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow sings Haggard “Today I started loving You Again”, and Jamey Johnson, Kid Rock sang “Ramblin ‘Fever.”

Vince Gill and Brad Paisley sang “Workin Man Blues.”

After the awards were announced in September, Jones’s son, potato pickers, said he could remember dreaming of great things as a 9 year old boy in upstate New York.

He continued to create the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982 with his partner Arnie Zane, died of AIDS six years later. Jones has dealt with difficult issues of employment, such as racism and mortality, sometimes sparking outrage.

On Sunday, he was hailed as a rule breaker and revolutionary by playwright Edward Albee, Claire Danes and others.

Jones said he often felt like an outsider, but he is honored to have helped shape the country.

Jones said he could “feel the love” and said he was delighted to receive the award while Obama is president. Yet he said he is disheartened by the direction of the country. “I tremble a bit, actually. The speech is so toxic.”

In recent years, Jones has shared his talents with Broadway, winning Tony Awards for her choreography in “Spring Awakening” and this year for his show “Fela!” Currently playing in New York and London. He said he hopes more artists to fill the gap between the world of traditional dance and theater.

“We do not want to be more marginalized,” he said. “Indifference is worse than dislike.”

Darlene Superville Associated Press writer contributed to this report.

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