The big guns are rolling out tonight for the Kennedy Center Honors. It’s all hush-hush, and the KC people don’t like it getting out, but it’s a new generation now of Twitter and e-mail. Bit by bit, it’s all seeping out.
Set to perform for honoree Bruce Springsteen are Sting, Melissa Etheridge, Eddie Vedder and John Mellencamp. Anticipated numbers include “Born to Run,” “Born in the USA,” “The Rising” and “My City in Ruins.” Country duo Sugarland are set to perform “I’m on Fire.”
Movie producer/writer/direct0r/actor/comedian/Tony winner Mel Brooks gets his toast in a big way. Old friend and partner Carl Reiner is there, and there will be numbers from “The Producers” with Matthew Broderick, Roger Bart and Gary Beach, including “Springtime for Hitler.” Other Brooks toasters include Martin Short, Jack Black and Richard Kind.
Robert De Niro is also being honored, and he’s brought all five of his kids and wife Grace Hightower. Ben Stiller will toast his “Meet the Parents” co-star, as will Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Sharon Stone, Frank Langella and Harvey Keitel.
There are also tributes to jazz great Dave Brubeck, with Herbie Hancock among the performers, and opera star Grace Bumbry will be serenaded as well. The Kennedy Center tapes the show tonight for airing on CBS on Dec. 29.