August 9th, 2008
Jerome Robbins
Something to Dance About

Martha Swope

No other creative figure of the latter twentieth century was as contradictory as Jerome Robbins, and few were as controversial.  He was a master of the Broadway musical, transforming its possibilities with such works as West Side Story, Gypsy, and Peter Pan, and was one of the greatest ballet choreographers this country has ever produced.

Thirteen/WNET’s AMERICAN MASTERS profiles this complex mid-century artist in Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, premiering February 18, 2009 on PBS (check local listings). Directed and produced by six-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Judy Kinberg and written by best-selling Robbins biographer Amanda Vaill, the two-hour film is narrated by Ron Rifkin (Brothers & Sisters), who performed the roles of both Robbins and his father in a workshop production of the director/choreographer’s theatrical autobiography, The Poppa Piece.  This first and only documentary on Robbins features excerpts from his personal journals, archival performance footage, and never-before-seen rehearsal recordings, as well as interviews with Robbins himself and over forty witnesses – among them Mikhail Baryshnikov; Jacques d’Amboise; Suzanne Farrell; Arthur Laurents; Peter Martins; Frank Rich; Chita Rivera; Stephen Sondheim; and Robbins’ Fiddler collaborators Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Joseph Stein.

“Robbins’ remarkable body of work forever redefined dance and musical theater for a contemporary audience,” says Susan Lacy, Creator and Executive Producer of WNET’s AMERICAN MASTERS, a five-time winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Primetime Non-Fiction Series.  “The revival of West Side Story on Broadway this winter just validates his lasting importance, his lasting impression. We are thrilled to air this film in tribute to Robbin’ genius, celebrating the 90th anniversary of his birth.”

  • Fallon Ann Williams

    With Never before-seen rehearsal recordings,
    American film director and choreographer
    Jerome Robbins,(11 October 1918 – 29 July 1998)
    Who gaining notice for his Hermes in Helen of Troy, the Moor in Petrouchka and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet. But Jerome Robbins Has Left Behind Not Only His Works, And With Revival Of West Side Story, Gypsy, Funny Girl, The King and I, Peter Pan, Thank You Jerome Robbins, You has Help Broadway and Ballet, Give The Uppen Hand

  • Dale

    I cant wait for this! I love JR works. I never get tired of his mastery. BTW West Side Story is back on Broadway–perfect timing!

  • megg

    How can I buy something to Dance about

  • John Abrams

    Most fascinating,most interesting program I have seen on TV. Only PBS could do it justice.

  • Kathy Cahill

    A fantastic and fascinating story of a tortured man who was just so talented and multifaceted. Thank you for showing us all sides. It was beautifully done.

  • Anna McNeely

    This was great! Thanks for the clips from GYPSY and giving me reconition. I would like to purchase the CD. Do more of this type of programing.

  • Antonio Diaz

    I admit, I know little or nothing about the world of ballet, but watching the life of Jerome Robbins was a eye opening experiance. I always thought this type of medium was above my head and I wasn’t smart enough to understand it. And in some ways still don’t, however; the life of Mr. Robbins and his dedication to his craft was amazing and helped me understand it better.

  • Denise

    Fabulous documentary with great archival footage and interviews! Bravo!

  • Chris Finklein

    I watched American Masters on Jerome Robbins last night (2/18) and was enthralled with the documentary. One of the best I’ve ever watched! It rivaled anything I’ve seen on television in eons. A marvelous depicture of a true master. I’ve been hunting for its repeat performance so I can DVR it to watch and re-watch! On a salce of 1-10 it’s a certifiable 25!

  • june feinerman

    will the jerome robbins something to dance about be on pbs in the near future….thank you

  • Joyce

    I tvio’d this program and just finished seeing it. What a marvelous & talented man he was. During the late 80’s I had the pleasure of seeing his last show in the Imperial Theatre “BROADWAY” which I thoroughly
    enjoyed and still have the PlayBILL. Thank you so much for this ‘masterpiece’.

  • paul lefcort

    i caught the tail end of this wonderful program and would love to see it in its entirety.
    please, let me know the dates and time when it will be repeated.
    paul lefcort

  • debra levine
    I enjoyed the program but thought it was less than totally forthcoming about his obvious mental illness.

  • Erin Schoepke

    I must see this Documentary again. Profoundly captivating. Is there a way to purchase it on DVD? Will it Re-air?

  • Rosanne Sawyer

    How can I access or get a copy of the PBS Dance in America 1980 program “Two Duets”. It’s “Other Dances” by Jerome Robbins performed by Baryshnikov and Makarova.

  • Belle Parmet

    Surely there is an audience for American Masters program on Jerome Robbins.PBS repeats of Antiques Roadhouse,Masterpiece Theatre and Les Mis are repeated ad nauseum.What is happening to quality programs?The weekends are a wasteland!

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