The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center Gala, Celebrating the Human Spirit

starring Idina Menzel

Citizen Artist
Forest Whitaker

Distinguished Philanthropists
Patrick G. Ryan and Shirley W. Ryan

Event Chairs
Carol A. Melton and Jodie W. McLean

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
The Kennedy Center  |  Washington, DC

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Join us for a gala concert with Tony Award® winner Idina Menzel and a lively after-party with cocktails and dancing at the Kennedy Center Gala as we celebrate Citizen Artist Forest Whitaker and Distinguished Philanthropists Patrick G. Ryan and Shirley W. Ryan, the recipients of the Award for the Human Spirit — leaders in the creative community who have helped bring great art to life.

Perhaps best known for the Broadway blockbusters Wicked and Rent and the Disney animated hit Frozen, acclaimed artist Idina Menzel shares her considerable talents as a vocalist and songwriter in a specially curated concert celebrating the recipients of the 2019 Kennedy Center Award for the Human Spirit. With a set list mixing fan favorites and original songs, you know it's going to be a wickedly good time. After the concert, continue the celebration at the ‘Til Midnight Party, featuring legendary DJ D-Nice.

The Kennedy Center is a community-oriented convener open for all to experience. Your purchase of an event package will increase student success, support access to and participation in the arts by all Americans, influence audience diversity and reach both live and digitally, and create investment in partnerships and networks across the country. Funds raised from The Kennedy Center Gala will ensure the future of these programs.

More about Idina Menzel

Tony Award®–winning icon Idina Menzel has a diverse career that traverses stage, film, television, and music. Menzel's voice can be heard as "Elsa" in Disney's Oscar®-winning Frozen, the highest-grossing animated film of all time. The film's song "Let It Go," voiced by Menzel, won the Oscar® for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award® for Best Song Written for Visual Media. A skillful songwriter, Menzel's prolific recording career includes multiple cast albums and the solo albums Still I Can't Be Still, Here, I Stand, and her latest album idina., released September 2016 on Warner Bros Records as well as idina: live in October 2018. Garnering huge critical acclaim, Menzel reached superstardom on Broadway with her Tony Award®–winning performance as "Elphaba," the misunderstood green girl in the blockbuster Wicked, and in her Tony®-nominated role as "Maureen" in the Pulitzer Prize winning Rent. Menzel was most recently seen on Broadway in the original production If/Then, for which she earned her third Tony® nomination. In May 2018, Idina starred in Roundabout Theatre Company's Off-Broadway production of Skintight as Jodi Isaac, a woman reeling from her ex-husband's engagement to a much younger woman. Philanthropy is also important to Menzel, who co-founded the A BroaderWay Foundation in 2010. This organization is dedicated to offering girls from underserved communities an outlet for self-expression and creativity through arts-centered programs.

More about the Kennedy Center Award for the Human Spirit

The Kennedy Center Award for the Human Spirit recognizes recipients who have had an enduring impact on the advancement of arts, contributing to a culture of giving through philanthropy and through service. This year's Distinguished Philanthropist Award goes to Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan of Chicago in recognition of their long and transformational contributions to Chicago's cultural institutions. The Citizen Artist Award goes to artist, producer, and social activist Forest Whitaker for his work on peace-building initiatives in the U.S., Africa, and Latin America.

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    Wednesday, April 3, 2019

  • 5:30pm Reception, Roof Terrace Restaurant
  • 6:15pm Dinner and Awards Presentation, Nations Gallery
  • 8:00pm Performance starring Idina Menzel, Eisenhower Theater
  • 9:30pm ‘Til Midnight Party with DJ D-Nice, Nations Gallery

Festive Cocktail Attire

The Kennedy Center Gala Premier Sponsor

The Boeing Company