Features U.S. broadcast premieres of the four-time Tony-winning stage adaptation of
“An American in Paris The Musical,” the U.K. live production of“The Sound of Music” and new
documentaries about John Leguizamo’s Tony-nominated play “Latin History for Morons”
and Broadway icon Harold Prince
Great Performances presents more of the Great White Way’s brightest stars with a new “Broadway’s Best” lineup premiering Fridays, November 2-23 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Returning for a second year, this fall’s lineup includes the beloved musicals “An American in Paris The Musical” and “The Sound of Music,” as well as documentaries about the making of John Leguizamo’s Tony-nominated play “Latin History for Morons” and 21-time Tony-winning director and producer Harold Prince. All programs will be available to stream the following day viapbs.org/gperf and PBS apps.
Great Performances: An American in Paris The Musical
Premieres Friday, November 2 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Streams Saturday, November 3 at pbs.org/gperf and PBS apps
Described as an extended symphonic tone poem, George Gershwin’s 1928 composition “An American in Paris” was commissioned by conductor Walter Damrosch and rapidly became one of his most famous compositions. The 1951 MGM film starring Gene Kelly was inspired by Gershwin’s score and became one of the studio’s most acclaimed and famous movie musicals, winning six Academy Awards. In 2015, Paris finally came “home” to Broadway in a thrilling new stage adaptation of the film, directed and choreographed by dance wunderkind Christopher Wheeldon, which earned four Tony Awards. Happily for Broadway, dance and Gershwin fans, the Broadway production makes its television debut on Great Performances with its original stars, Tony nominees Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope.
Great Performances: The Sound of Music
Premieres Friday, November 9 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Streams Saturday, November 10 on PBS Passport via pbs.org/gperf and PBS apps
Beloved by generations of audiences worldwide, “The Sound of Music” tells the inspiring true story of the von Trapp Family Singers and their escape from Austria during the rise of Nazism. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1959 hit stage musical garnered five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the blockbuster 1965 movie adaptation won five Oscars, including Best Picture. Great Performances presents the 2015 live U.K. broadcast version starring Kara Tointon as Maria, Julian Ovenden as Captain von Trapp, Katherine Kelley as Baroness Schraeder, Alexander Armstrong as Max, and Maria Friedman as the Mother Abbess. Cinematically photographed on adjoining sound stages, the production offers a more naturalistic interpretation of this great classic of the American musical theater. Among the many classic songs featured in the score are “The Sound of Music,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Every Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and more.
Great Performances: John Leguizamo’s Road to Broadway
Premieres Friday, November 16 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Streams Saturday, November 17 at pbs.org/gperf and PBS apps
Beginning his career as a stand-up comic in the early 1980s, John Leguizamo garnered early-career acclaim in 1993 with his memorable role in “Carlito’s Way,” which led to an extensive film and television career including roles in “To Wong Foo…,” “Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge” and many more. But it has been in the theater that Leguizamo has been able to fully display his quicksilver comic brilliance and insightful social consciousness in a series of one-man shows: “Mambo Mouth,” “Spic-O-Rama,” “Freak,” “Sexaholix…A Love Story” and “Ghetto Klown.” In partnership with Latino Public Broadcasting’s arts and culture series VOCES, Great Performances presents this behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling Leguizamo’s latest theatrical showcase, “Latin History for Morons.” This comic yet pointed look at the repression of Latino culture in America follows Leguizamo’s journey through his own family history to his first-ever comedy club tour and to Off-Broadway workshops of the new show. Along the way, Leguizamo navigates the challenges of writing (and re-writing) history lessons intended to enlighten and entertain.
Great Performances – Harold Prince: The Director’s Life
Premieres Friday, November 23 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Streams Saturday, November 24 at pbs.org/gperf and PBS apps
This Great Performances retrospective celebrates the extraordinary career of producer and director Harold Prince, whose seven decades in the theater spans from Broadway’s “Golden Age” to the contemporary blockbusters of today. Winner of 21 Tony Awards (the most of any individual), Prince’s peerless résumé includes such legendary shows as “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Cabaret,” “Company,” “Follies,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Evita,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and many more. In addition to archival clips, this fascinating performance-documentary includes interviews with many of Prince’s renowned collaborators, including Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mandy Patinkin, John Kander, Susan Stroman, Angela Lansbury and others, all sharing their firsthand insights into his pioneering achievements in the theater.
Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its more than 40-year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.
For An American in Paris The Musical: Music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, book by Craig Lucas, directed and choreographed for the stage by Christopher Wheeldon. Directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon and produced by Joshua Andrews, Stuart Oken and Austin Shaw.
For The Sound of Music: Music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. Live director is Richard Valentine and directed for the screen by Coky Giedroyc. Executive producers are Lee Connolly, Fiona Clark and Andre Ptaszynski.
For John Leguizamo’s Road to Broadway: Written by John Leguizamo. Directed by Ben DeJesus and produced by NGL Media.
For Harold Prince: The Director’s Life: Directed by Lonny Price and written by David Thompson. Co-produced by Lonny Price and David Thompson.
Major funding for “Broadway’s Best” on Great Performances is provided by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Irene Diamond Fund, Rosalind P. Walter, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, The Phillip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Abra Prentice Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold, The Lewis “Sonny” Turner Fund for Dance, the Merle and Shirley Harris Fund, and PBS.
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature,Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! And Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history experience. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person. Through multi-platform initiatives Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America and Peril and Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change, WNET showcases the human stories around these issues and promising solutions. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: http://www.thirteen.org/passport.