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The Kennedy Center usually honors an individual artist for a lifetime of achievements. But this year, it did something different: it honored creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and musical director Alex Lacamoire for producing the contemporary hit Broadway show, Hamilton.
“The Kennedy Center Honors recognizes exceptional artists who have made enduring and indelible marks on our culture,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein in an earlier statement. “The creators of Hamilton have literally and figuratively changed the face of American culture with daringly original, breathtakingly relevant work.”
Miranda and his colleagues — all young artists —were honored as “trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category” — a distinction never before awarded by the arts institution.
The awards also broke with tradition when Miranda and Lacamoire sat at the piano and performed at the ceremony that honored them.
Hamilton has already won a litany of awards. At the 2016 Tony Awards, the show earned the “Best Musical,” “Best Score,” “Best Choreography,” “Best Costume Design of a Musical,” “Best Lightening Design of a Musical,” among others. Miranda also won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for drama for writing Hamilton and on Friday, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors, was hosted by Gloria Estefan, and will be broadcast on CBS on December 26. Other honorees included Cher, Reba McEntire, Philip Glass and Wayne Shorter.