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Bill T. Jones, Jerry Herman, Oprah Winfrey among 2010 Kennedy Center honorees

September 7, 2010 | 10:47 am


Each year, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts bestows its top honors to leaders in the fields of arts and entertainment. If the annual groupings seem eclectic and random -- like a grab-bag dinner party of the cultural elite -- the star power on hand is undeniably powerful.

For its 2010 awards, the Kennedy Center has named five individuals who hardly need any introduction -- choreographer Bill T. Jones, composer  Jerry Herman, talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey, singer Merle Haggard and former Beatle Paul McCartney.

The ceremony will take place Dec. 5 at the Kennedy Center and CBS will air the two-hour special on Dec. 28. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be on hand to present the medallions to this year's winners.

Herman is best known for his work on musicals such as "La Cage aux Folles," "Hello, Dolly!" and "Mame." He won a special Tony Award in 2009 in recognition of his career on Broadway.

Jones is the co-leader of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, one of the top modern dance institutions in the world. More recently, he has gained fame for his Tony Award-winning work in the Broadway musicals "Spring Awakening" and "Fela!"

Last year's honorees were Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro, Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck and Grace Bumbry.

-- David Ng

Photos, from top: Bill T. Jones and Jerry Herman. Credits: E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune; Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times


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