Recapturing Camelot - NBC4 Washington

Recapturing Camelot

Kennedy Center plans celebrity tribute to namesake



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    WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 02: Decorations are seen surrounding a portrait of John F. Kennedy on the State Floor during the media preview of the White House holiday decorations December 2, 2009 at the White House in Washington, DC. The theme for the 2009 White House holiday decorations is "Reflect Rejoice Renew." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will mark the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of John F. Kennedy by recreating moments from his presidency with a stellar lineup of performers, including Morgan Freeman and Julie Andrews.

    Center officials announced Wednesday that ABC's Diane Sawyer will host the opening celebration Jan. 20 with her husband, film director Mike Nichols. Other celebrities who will help mark the half-century since President Kennedy delivered the now-famous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country,” include Andrews, Freeman, singer Paul Simon, jazz musician Herbie Hancock and playwright Terrence McNally.

    Cellist Yo-Yo Ma will recreate the historic Kennedy White House performance by the late Spanish cellist Pablo Casals, and opera singer Denyce Graves will stand in for Grace Bumbry, who sang at the White House at the invitation of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

    The Kennedy Center is the nation’s memorial to the 35th president.