Organizers of the Kennedy Center Honors, the annual tradition honoring lifetime achievements in arts and culture, announced Wednesday that they will bestow a special award to “Hamilton” star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and his collaborators ― director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and music director Alex Lacamoire.
This year’s lifetime achievement honorees, also announced Wednesday, include a quartet of music icons: singers and actresses Cher and Reba McEntire; composer Philip Glass, known for his minimalist movie scores; and jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter.
The decision to honor a single piece of work is highly unusual for the Kennedy Center, whose awards typically recognize an artist’s entire oeuvre. It reflects the cultural impact of the wildly successful Broadway musical, which has garnered numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, and sold out theaters around the country.
In a statement Wednesday, Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter acknowledged that it was an “unprecedented” prize.
“In recognizing Hamilton and its co-creators, the Kennedy Center is making an unprecedented statement about an unprecedented work — a work that transcends cultural boundaries and tells America’s story in a powerful and contemporary way,” Rutter said.
The “Hamilton” creators will also become the youngest recipients in the history of the Kennedy Center Honors, according to The Washington Post.
The sitting president and first lady usually attend the star-studded gala, which features musical tributes to the award recipients.
But last year, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump declined to attend, after several of the honorees said they would boycott the White House reception held before the gala in protest of Trump and his policies.
The White House did not immediately respond to a question about whether the Trumps would attend this year’s ceremony, which is scheduled to be held on Dec. 2 and broadcast on CBS on Dec. 26.