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John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Kennedy Center Honors felt different, and it was because of 'Hamilton'

Kennedy Center Honors felt different, and it was because of 'Hamilton'

The Kennedy Center Honors stepped out of its comfort zone Sunday night, conferring recognition for the first time on a living, breathing work of art, along with four seasoned - and also living and breathing - American artists. And the change felt both fresh and a little fraught.

By adding a popular musical, the universally celebrated "Hamilton," to a historic list of honorees that has run alphabetically over the past 41 years from George Abbott to Joanne Woodward, the Kennedy Center radically revised the rules and, in a way, the lavish ceremony that fetes the winners. The other winners this year were singer and actress Cher, country music star Reba McEntire, jazz great...

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