40th Anniversary Celebration

Full Episode

Watch the full performance of the Great Performances 40th Anniversary Celebration, filmed at Lincoln Center in New York City. Television’s longest-running performing arts showcase is honored with performances and tributes by Julie Andrews, Patti Austin, Michael Bublé, Elīna Garança, Josh Groban, Don Henley, Audra McDonald, Peter Martins, Itzhak Perlman, and David Hyde Pierce.

The full musical program follows:

GP Overture

Audra McDonald
“Dear Friend” (from “She Loves Me”)
“Stars and the Moon”

Josh Groban
“Changing Colors”
“Not While I’m Around” (from “Sweeney Todd”)

Itzhak Perlman
“Dem Trisker Rebn’s Nign”
“A Dudele” (with Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot and the Klezmer Conservatory Band)

New York City Ballet
“It Should Have Been Me”

Don Henley
“Desperado”

Take 6
“Just in Time” (from “Bells are Ringing”)

Patti Austin and Take 6
“How High the Moon”

Elīna Garanča
“Chanson Boheme” (Gypsy Song) (from “Carmen”)

Michael Bublé
“That’s All”
“I’ve Got the World on a String”

In his remarks introducing the series’ drama programs, actor David Hyde Pierce reminisces about the personal impact of these milestone productions, remarking “It brings back a lot of memories of when I was a young person I used to watch Great Performances on PBS, not just Shakespeare but all the other wonderful dramas broadcast by the series. And when I grew up I became an actor.”

Peter Martins, in his introduction to the segment on the series’ groundbreaking dance productions, observes, “One of the great things that has made these series great is that they allow great artists like Balanchine, and Jerry Robbins and Martha Graham and Paul Taylor and Alvin Ailey and so many others to collaborate and create an invaluable library of works adapted and supervised by themselves and broadcast to audiences across the country. So we are very grateful to Great Performances for having been a part of our lives.”

His remarks lead into the Ray Charles version of “It Should Have Been Me,” danced by current members of New York City Ballet.

Over the course of its four decades, Great Performances has provided a national stage where popular artists not only reveal the surprising dimensions of their creative gifts but often surpass expectations. Great Performances has also offered artists the opportunity to celebrate and pay homage to the influential figures in their lives and careers, as well as be the first to spotlight emerging artists with their feature-length television debut.