The Marquee Blog

Kennedy Center to honor Oprah, Paul McCartney

On Sunday, December 5, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will celebrate “five individuals who have spent their lives enriching, inspiring and elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world" as part of the 33rd annual Kennedy Center Honors gala.

Oprah Winfrey, whose daytime talk show will come to an end in 2011, is among the honorees, which also include country musician Merle Haggard; composer and lyricist Jerry Herman; dancer, choreographer and director Bill T. Jones; and legendary songwriter/musician Paul McCartney.

“For more than 25 years, Oprah Winfrey has established one of the most innovative careers in the entertainment world, with distinctive accomplishments in television and film,” the Kennedy Center’s Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement.

“The honesty of Merle Haggard’s music and poetic lyrics has helped to shape the world of country music for nearly five decades,” and “Jerry Herman’s musicals rank him in the pantheon of Broadway’s Golden Age and will keep audiences humming along for generations to come,” Rubenstein went on.

Bill Jones, Rubenstein added, has had “an invaluable impact on the varied landscapes of dance and theater,” whereas “Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most influential and successful songwriters and musicians of all time, whose work has continuously altered both the creation and perception of music all over the world.”

The annual gala will take place at the Kennedy Center Opera House, and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be in attendance (they'll also receive the honorees at the White House before the event). You can catch the two-hour special on Tuesday, December 28 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.