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Making of ‘A Capitol Fourth’


Walter Miller in his backstage command post during the show.
Walter C. Miller backstage

On a live show the size of “A Capitol Fourth”, hundreds and hundreds of professionals and volunteers contribute to the creation and production of a successful event.  The biographies below provide a glimpse into the talent and experience of several of the most important players.

Jerry Colbert

Jerry Colbert Jerry Colbert is the Executive Producer and founder of two of television’s longest-running and multi-award winning live programs that commemorate America’s most important holidays. “A Capitol Fourth,” our country’s biggest birthday party, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2010 and was the second highest-rated program in primetime on PBS for the 2011-2012 season. The “National Memorial Day Concert” has become the nation’s premier tribute to our men and women in uniform during its 23 years on air and was the number four top-rated program in primetime on PBS for the 2011-2012 season. Colbert also served as Executive Producer of the “National Salute to Veterans” that aired on PBS November 11, 2012. In addition to his annual work on these events, Colbert has produced many films such as “Mr. Justice Brennan,” “Sister Adrian, the Mother Teresa of Scranton,” “The Regulators: Our Invisible Government” and “H.R. 6161: An Act of Congress.” Colbert previously served as deputy director of the Center for Understanding Media in New York.

Michael Colbert

A principal in Capital Concerts for over fifteen years, Executive Vice President Michael Colbert directs the organization year round in addition to serving as Producer for the “National Memorial Day Concert” and “A Capitol Fourth.” He also served as Executive Producer of the “National Salute to Veterans” that aired on PBS November 11, 2012. Colbert is the primary liaison with the over twenty government and non-governmental Washington agencies and organizations that contribute to the shows, and directs the hundreds of television professionals who participate annually. With more than 20 years of experience, Colbert's credits include major national television specials on CBS, Fox, PBS, and Comedy Central in locations ranging from Washington, DC, New York, and Los Angeles to Nashville. He has also produced a wide range of major corporate events.

Walter C. Miller

Producer Walter C. Miller is recognized as America’s leading live director and producer, with credits including television’s top awards shows, such as the Grammy Awards, Country Music Awards, The People’s Choice Awards, Tony Awards, American Comedy Awards, The Emmy Awards, Daytime Emmy Awards, and Golden Globe Awards. In 1999, he won an Emmy for producing the Tony Awards. For Liberty Weekend: Americana Music Concert, Miller received the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Director. He has won additional Emmys for “S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous, S’Gershwin,” a special with Jack Lemmon and Fred Astaire, and “Annie, The Women In A Life Of A Man.” His live musical concert credits include “Concert of the Americas” with Frank Sinatra in addition to “A Capitol Fourth” and the “National Memorial Day Concert.”

Paul Miller

Paul Miller has been directing television since 1982, with credits including three seasons as director of “Saturday Night Live” and four as director of “In Living Color.” He has received four Emmy nominations, and won in 1999 for directing the Tony Awards, and again in 2010 for directing ABC News’ coverage of the Inauguration of President Barrack Obama. He has also been nominated twice for the Directors Guild of America in the Musical/Variety category and won for directing the Tony Awards. In addition, Miller has directed the Country Music Awards for the last fifteen years as well as “CMA Christmas” for three years. He has also directed “An American Celebration at Ford’s Theater” multiple times. Other credits include directing the December 2011 and 2012 broadcasts on NBC of the American Giving Awards, a celebrity tribute to community heroes. On July 4, 1993, he teamed professionally with his father, Walter C. Miller, for “A Capitol Fourth” and has directed, both the “National Memorial Day Concert” and “A Capitol Fourth”. Paul Miller is a partner in RickMill Productions, a Hollywood based entertainment company that has produced numerous series for Comedy Central, as well as specials for HBO and Showtime. This season, Miller has produced and directed “Off Their Rockers” starring Betty White for NBC.

Jon Macks

Jon Macks has written for Hollywood’s top television programs, including the most prestigious award shows, late night programs, and television specials. Since 1992, he has been a staff writer for the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Macks has written for the Academy Awards since 1997, including hosts Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Hugh Jackman, Whoopi Goldberg, and Chris Rock. He was also head writer for the 76th, 80th, 81st, and 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Macks has written on sixteen Emmy Awards, six American Latino Media Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. He’s been nominated for five Emmy Awards for writing the Academy Awards, and for writing and producing the “Betty White 90th Birthday Special.” In 2006, he received a Writers Guild Award nomination for his work on the 59th Annual Tony Awards. He was also creator and consulting producer for the HBO series “K Street” and is executive producer and writer of the Universal movie “Little Leaguers.” His television credits include “ABC’s 50th Anniversary Special,” “Hollywood Squares,” “CBS’s 75th Anniversary Special” and “The Honeymooner’s 50th Anniversary Special.” This is Macks’ ninth time writing for “A Capitol Fourth.”

Barr Weissman

Barr Weissman has produced and edited the video segments for the “A Capitol Fourth” since 1998. Weissman edited and helped produce several independent documentaries, including the Academy Award winning film, “The Stonecarvers” and “Mr. Justice Brennan.” He has directed and edited biographical films for the Kennedy Center Honors (including films on The Who, Mel Brooks and Bruce Springsteen). In addition, he has produced and edited documentaries for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, NBC, PBS, and others. His work has been recognized by the Emmy’s, received awards at film festivals worldwide, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Weissman’s most recent film, “The Secret To A Happy Ending” has screened at film festivals and theaters worldwide and received 4 stars from Rolling Stone. A native Washingtonian, Weissman produced and independently distributed two critically acclaimed documentaries about the city – “Home: The Langston Terrace Dwellings” and “A View From The Street: The Art Of Lily Spandorf.”