The thirty-first annual special presentation of Kennedy Center honors held in Washington, D.C. Recipients of this year's honors are actor Morgan Freeman, dancer/choreographer Twyla Tharp, musicians Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, musician George Jones, and singer/actor/director Barbra Streisand.

Host Caroline Kennedy offers opening remarks and introduces Denzel Washington, who recalls working with Freeman in a Shakespeare in the Park production of "Coriolanus" and in the film "Glory" (1989). A series of clips describes Freeman's early life in Mississippi, his time in the Air Force, and his long acting career, including his memorable role in "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989). Frequent co-star and director Clint Eastwood then introduces blues musicians David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Joe "Pinetop" Perkins and Koko Taylor, who perform "I'm a Woman," followed by B.B. King, who performs "Let the Good Times Roll."

Next, Lily Tomlin introduces Tharp's career, including her study of many forms of dance and her creation of "baffling" new productions that combined genres and styles in unusual and innovative ways, catching the attention of Mikhail Baryshnikov and other prominent dancers. Her 2002 Broadway musical, "Movin' Out," inspired by the works of Billy Joel, went on to win her a Tony Award for Best Choreography. Dancers Marcelo Gomes and Luciana Paris then perform to "Strangers in the Night," "That's Life" and "My Way."

Actor Jack Black then takes the stage and describes his lifelong love of The Who, introducing a series of clips profiling their early days as rebellious teens in London and their work in creating "the sound of their times," leading to the groundbreaking rock opera "Tommy" (1975). After a series of troubles and personal tragedies, Townshend and Daltrey reunited for a concert honoring the heroes of 9/11. Joss Stone performs "My Generation," followed by Dave Grohl on "Who Are You," Bettye LaVette on "Love, Reign O'er Me" and Rob Thomas on "Baby O'Riley."

Next, Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman of the board of trustees of the Kennedy Center, and First Lady Laura Bush take the stage and introduce Jones, discussing his rise in the world of country music, his famous romance with singer Tammy Wynette, and his many hit songs describing the "hard-won truths" of his flawed life. Brad Paisley sings "Bartender's Blues," followed by Randy Travis on "I'm a One-Woman Man," Alan Jackson on "He Stopped Loving Her Today," and Garth Brooks on "White Lightning," "The Grand Tour" and "The Race is On."

Queen Latifah then honors Streisand, highlighting her early stage career and star-making role in "Funny Girl" (1964), as well as her many hit albums and other acting roles, including her groundbreaking roles as producer, director, writer and star of "Yentl" (1983). Glenn Close introduces singer Idina Menzel, who performs "Don't Rain on My Parade," followed by Beyoncé Knowles, who sings "The Way We Were," and Ne-Yo, who performs "Lover, Come Back to Me." Kennedy then introduces Kelli O'Hara and Nathan Gunn, who sing "Somewhere" from "West Side Story." The evening concludes as the honorees all take their bows. Commercials deleted.


  • DATE: 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:31:22
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 100537
  • GENRE: Specials
  • SUBJECT HEADING: African-American Collection - Music
  • SERIES RUN: CBS - TV, 2008


  • Danette Herman … Coordinating Producer
  • George Stevens Jr. … Producer, Created by, Writer
  • Michael Stevens … Producer, Writer
  • Ali Gifford Stevens … Co-Producer
  • Sara Lukinson … Co-Producer, Writer
  • Dottie McCarthy … Associate Producer
  • Bill Urban … Line Producer
  • Louis J. Horvitz … Director
  • Nick Vanoff … Created by
  • Rob Ashford … Choreographer
  • Caroline Kennedy … Host
  • Carl Kasell … Announcer
  • Morgan Freeman … Honoree
  • Twyla Tharp … Honoree
  • Roger Daltrey … Honoree
  • Pete Townshend … Honoree
  • George Jones … Honoree
  • Barbra Streisand … Honoree
  • David "Honeyboy" Edwards … Performer
  • Joe "Pinetop" Perkins … Performer
  • Koko Taylor … Performer
  • B.B. King … Performer
  • Marcelo Gomes … Performer
  • Luciana Paris … Performer
  • Joss Stone … Performer
  • Dave Grohl … Performer
  • Bettye LaVette … Performer
  • Rob Thomas … Performer
  • Brad Paisley … Performer
  • Randy Travis … Performer
  • Alan Jackson … Performer
  • Garth Brooks … Performer
  • Idina Menzel … Performer
  • Beyoncé Knowles … Performer
  • Ne-Yo (see also: Shaffer Chimere Smith) … Performer
  • Kelli O'Hara … Performer
  • Nathan Gunn … Performer
  • Denzel Washington … Guest
  • Clint Eastwood … Guest
  • Lily Tomlin … Guest
  • Jack Black … Guest
  • Stephen A. Schwarzman … Guest
  • Laura Bush … Guest
  • Queen Latifah … Guest
  • Glenn Close … Guest
  • Mikhail Baryshnikov
  • Billy Joel
  • Who, The
  • Tammy Wynette