The Kennedy Center announced yesterday that writer-director Mel Brooks and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck will receive Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement in the arts. Joining Brooks and Brubeck this year as recipients are rocker Bruce Springsteen, actor Robert De Niro and opera singer Grace Bumbry. They will be recognized at a gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The event will be broadcast as a two-hour special on December 29 at 9 p.m. on CBS. (LtoR: Brooks, Brubeck)
Brooks’ career has spanned the stage, films and television. His Broadway credits include The Producers (which garnered 12 Tony® Awards), Young Frankenstein as well as books for the musicals All American and Shinbone Alley. Brooks’ many films include cult classics such as Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, High Anxiety and Young Frankenstein. He earned an Oscar for The Producers’ movie screenplay. On the small screen, Brooks has won Emmys for his appearances on the comedy series Mad About You and he also worked on Get Smart and Your Show of Shows. Orange County audiences will have the opportunity to see Brooks’ work when his musical Young Frankenstein visits the Center September 7 – 19, 2010.
Brubeck has been dazzling audiences for 60 years with his composing and piano playing. He’s appeared four times at the Center in the popular Jazz Series. Over the years, he’s written jazz standards such as "In Your Own Sweet Way," "The Duke” and “Take Five.” One of his most well-known works is the classic recording Time Out which was the first jazz album to sell one million copies. Credited with bringing jazz into the mainstream, Brubeck has received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts and been inducted into Down Beat’s Hall of Fame.