Congrats to them all!!

Kennedy Center honors Springsteen, De Niro, others
WASHINGTON ñ With a little help from Carol Burnett, a new star from the hit TV show “Glee” and other top entertainers, political Washington is saluting five of the nation’s top artists with the Kennedy Center Honors this weekend.
A surprise list of star performers will honor Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro and comic genius Mel Brooks Sunday night during a show attended by President Barack Obama and other power players from Washington and Hollywood.
Also receiving the honors ó which recognize individuals who have defined American culture through the arts as a living memorial to John F. Kennedy ó are jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck and opera singer Grace Bumbry.
“It’s different than everything else,” Springsteen, 60, said of the award Saturday night at a State Department dinner honoring the group. “We worked really hard for our music to be part of American life and our fans’ lives. So it’s an acknowledgment that you’ve kind of threaded your way into the culture in a certain way. It’s satisfying.”
The show will air nationwide Dec. 29 on CBS.
State Department officials would not say whether security for Saturday’s event had been heightened after a Virginia couple recently sneaked into a White House State dinner. The gala Sunday is Obama’s first big event since Micheale and Tareq Salahi slipped past White House security Nov. 24.
The Secret Service runs security for Kennedy Center events the president attends, and everyone who enters must have a ticket that will be checked at the door.
Burnett led a series of toasts at a more private celebration for the honorees Saturday night after a dinner for about 200 hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Several of the honorees, Clinton said, have been at the forefront of cultural diplomacy. Brubeck, who turns 89 on Sunday, was sent abroad in the Cold War, she said, to serve as an ambassador with his music in countries teetering between democracy and communism.
And Springsteen played a rock concert in East Berlin for 160,000 people just 16 months before the Berlin Wall fell ó a concert many Germans remember 20 years later, Clinton said.
“In every time and every culture, artists have lit the way toward progress,” she said. “They’ve helped to provide a common language, a fabric that weaves us together as human beings.”
Then there’s the more irreverent arts. Even the mention of Brooks’ number “Springtime for Hitler” from “The Producers” was enough to draw chuckles.
Brooks, 83, said it’s special to receive the honor during the Obama administration. He said he’ll whisper something in the president’s ear about the need for more federal funding for the arts.
“I think when all my awards go to e-Bay, it will be the last,” Brooks said of the Kennedy Center medallion. “That’s how much I treasure it.”
Many workers and guests were even more gaga Saturday night over seeing Matthew Morrison from TV’s “Glee.” They recognized him as Mr. Schuster, the high school teacher and glee club coach from the Fox show.
Morrison said he was elated to visit Washington to help honor Brooks.
“I like crossing the line every now and then, and he’s kind of the master of crossing that line, being a little offensive at times,” Morrison said. “The man is a living legend.”
Other big names in town for the honors include Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese, Sharon Stone and others. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was seated near Clinton, along with journalist Barbara Walters. She turned heads Saturday night, arriving as actor Frank Langella’s date.
Jon Stewart was seated at Springsteen’s table, along with Caroline Kennedy.
Former President Bill Clinton, a saxophone player, offered a moving toast for Brubeck. He said he first saw Brubeck’s quartet in concert when he was about 15 years old and was “utterly captivated.”
Later when Clinton invited Brubeck to the White House in 1994, the musician quizzed the president on what songs besides “Take Five” he liked from Brubeck’s album, “Time Out,” which was released 50 years ago this month. He even asked Clinton if he could hum the bridge to “Blue Rondo a la Turk.” And Clinton passed the test.
A week later, Brubeck sent the president an autographed picture and chart from the song.
“It hangs in the music room of my home today,” Clinton said. “It hung in the White House every single day I was there.”