Broadway-Themed Sandy Hook Concert To Air This Month

Brian Stokes Mitchell

Brian Stokes Mitchell

A special concert, “From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook,” will air on PBS stations in the New York City tri-state area this month. WLIW21 will air the hour-long broadcast version of the concert on July 18 at 10pm, with WNET/13 and CPTV showing it at 10pm on July 26, and NJTV broadcasting it on July 30 at 10pm.

Originally taped at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut this past January, “From Broadway With Love” was designed as a way for the Broadway community to show its support for the Newtown community in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Students from Sandy Hook Elementary, the Newtown High School Chamber Choir, and from a number of Newtown dance groups took part.

Broadway stars featured in the benefit concert include performers Brian Stokes Mitchell (Ragtime) and Linda Eder, Broadway composers Stephen Schwartz, Frank Wildhorn, and Marc Shaiman, and many other Broadway notables. “Seasons of Love” (Rent), “Beautiful City” (Godspell), “Somewhere” (West Side Story), “You Can’t Stop the Beat” (Hairspray), and “The Impossible Dream” (Man of La Mancha) are among the Broadway songs performed during the concert.

All proceeds from the benefit concert have gone to the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation.

Kristin Chenoweth Hosts The Dames of Broadway on PBS

Kristin ChenowethThe spotlight will be shining on the female characters who have made Broadway grand in the upcoming PBS broadcast of Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway … All of ‘Em!, set to air on March 24.

Airing as part of the Live From Lincoln Center TV series on PBS, the concert itself is a part of Lincoln Center’s celebrated American Songbook series. During the evening, Chenoweth will honor the great roles for women that Broadway has brought us, from fabulous leading roles to scene-stealing featured parts.

Kristin Chenoweth is herself a favorite lady of Broadway, first gaining fans with her turn in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and going on to dazzle Broadway audiences in Wicked. More recently Chenoweth has been seen on TV in Glee and Pushing Daisies.

Broadway Musical Carousel To Be Presented in Concert on PBS

Kelli O'Hara headshot singer actressThe classic Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway musical Carousel is being staged at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall from February 27 to March 2 in a concert version that will feature the world-famous New York Philharmonic. Fortunately for those who aren’t able to see the concert staging in person, PBS has announced it will broadcast the event as a part of its “Live from Lincoln Center” series.

Carousel will feature Tony Award-nominated Broadway actress Kelli O’Hara (Nice Work If You Can Get It, South Pacific) as mill worker Julie Jordan and Nathan Gunn as troubled carnival barker Billy Bigelow. The cast of Carousel will also feature Broadway actor Alexander Gemignani (Sweeney Todd) and Stephanie Blythe (The Ring Cycle, Carmen). John Rando will direct the event, Rob Fisher will serve as conductor of the orchestra, and Warren Carlyle will provide choreography.

Carousel boasts some of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most beautiful and memorable songs, including “If I Loved You,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over”. Tickets to the Carousel concert are $65 and can be purchased at or by phone (212-875-5656).

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy Airs on PBS Tonight

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy poster PBSFans of Broadway and those who work in the theater industry have often remarked on the major impact that Jewish people have had on the musical artform (there’s an entire song about the phenomenon in the musical Spamalot). Michael Kantor’s new documentary, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, now explores this connection in depth. The 90-minute program airs tonight, January 1, on PBS as part of the network’s popular “Great Performances” series. (Check local listings for exact times.)

Broadway’s own Joel Grey (Cabaret, Chicago) narrates Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, and the documentary includes footage from Broadway musicals as varied as Fiddler on the Roof, The Producers, Funny Girl, and Wicked, along with interviews with many of Broadway’s most notable writers and composers. Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Kurt Weill, and Leonard Bernstein are among the many Broadway titans featured.

The documentary closely examines the unusual fact that during the early decades of the development of American musical theater, Broadway shows were almost exclusively created by Jewish Americans. Broadway performers, writers, and producers like Harold Prince, March Shaiman, Phyllis Newman, John Kander, and Mel Brooks are among the many interviewed for the documentary to talk about the past and continuing influence that American Jews have on Broadway theater.

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Broadway: The American Musical Returns to PBS October 7

One of the most comprehensive accounts of Broadway history ever assembled is returning to TV on October 7, when New York City’s PBS/Thirteen re-airs Broadway: The American Musical.  The six-part documentary, which debuted on television in 2004, is hosted by beloved musical theater icon Julie Andrews and covers Broadway from 1893 to the present.

In addition to production photos, interviews with theater greats, and excerpts from original Broadway cast recordings, the documentary also contains rare archival footage, newsreels, home movies, diary excerpts and personal correspondence, and notable moments, from the opening night of the groundbreaking Rodgers & Hammerstein classic Oklahoma! to the opening night of today’s hit Wicked.

Dozens and dozens of performers, choreographers, directors, composers, lyricists, bookwriters, producers, and Broadway legends take part in the series, including Carol Channing, Mel Brooks, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Agnes de Mille, Harvey Fierstein, Bob Fosse, Joel Grey, Jerry Herman, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Arthur Laurents, Jerry Orbach, Harold Prince, Jerome Robbins, Stephen Sondheim, Tommy Tune, Ben Vereen, and many more.

Broadway: The American Musical will air each Sunday evening from October 7 through November 11.  Already available on DVD, the series will debut on Blu-ray with extra material on October 16.

PBS Features Talented Teens in Broadway Or Bust

This autumn, the dreams of Glee-like musical theater loving teens will become a reality in the three-hour PBS documentary Broadway or Bust.  The competitive reality show, which will air Sunday nights on PBS from September 9-23 at 8pm, tells the true stories of top musical theater performers at high schools across America.  From a countrywide casting call of some 50,000 ambitious teenagers, the 60 most promising are plucked to travel to New York City for a week-long musical theater boot camp.

The camp is held annually, but this is the first time that its behind-the-scenes drama is captured on tape and broadcast nationwide.  It all leads up to the National High School Musical Theater Awards, an event that puts the students on an actual Broadway stage, performing for a full audience and top industry names serving as judges.  In addition to the opportunity to be seen by important people in the Broadway industry, the event also gives the students a chance to compete for scholarships.

Broadway or Bust will be broadcast in three one-hour segments.  The first focuses on the casting call, the second zeroes in on the intense boot camp experience, and the third installment is about the awards show, which will be held at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre (current home of The Lion King).  Each episode will feature not only the competitive aspect, but also showcase the inspiring individual stories of many of these young would-be Broadway stars.

Learn more about Broadway or Bust by visiting PBS’s dedicated website for it.