Musical Theater

Great Performances presents both new works and classics. In February it broadcast Sting: The Last Ship, featuring the superstar performing songs from his then upcoming Broadway show (it opens in New York City this September). Audiences also enjoyed an encore of Hugh Jackman in the Royal National Theatre’s production of Oklahoma!

  • Sting: The Last Ship

    Full Episode

    Watch the pre-Broadway live performance at The Public Theater
  • Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”

    Full Episode

    Starring Hugh Jackman in the National Theatre production

Sting: The Last Ship

Sting and ensemble perform songs from his new album and Broadway-bound musical, recorded live at The Public Theater in New York City. Drawing upon his memories growing up in the shipbuilding community of Wallsend in the North East of England, Sting provides a glimpse into the play’s narrative through the songs on the new album, inspired by the story of “The Last Ship.”

Premiered February 21, 2014 | Video expires February 20, 2016

National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage

Directed by the National Theatre’s Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner, the star-studded evening of live performance also features rare glimpses from the archive spotlighting many of the most celebrated actors who have performed on the National’s London stages over the past five decades.

Premiered February 14, 2014
Full episode not available at this time

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”

Starring Hugh Jackman, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, and choreographed by Susan Stroman, the acclaimed Royal National Theatre production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! in 1988 reveals the work’s emotional complexity. This broadcast marked the landmark musical’s 70th anniversary.

Premiered November 15, 2013 | Video expires November 15, 2016

Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” with the New York Philharmonic

The concert staging of Stephen Sondheim’s musical has an all-star cast including Craig Bierko (as Peter), Stephen Colbert (as Harry), Jon Cryer (as David), Katie Finneran (as Amy), Neil Patrick Harris (as Robert), Christina Hendricks (as April), Adam Lazar (as Paul), Patti LuPone (as Joanne), Jill Paice (as Susan), Martha Plimpton (as Sarah), Anika Noni Rose (as Marta), Jennifer Laura Thompson (as Jenny), Jim Walton (as Larry), and Chryssie Whitehead (as Kathy).

Premiered November 15, 2013
Full episode not available at this time

40th Anniversary Celebration

Great Performances has provided viewers an unparalleled showcase of the best of the performing arts. On the occasion of the series’ 40th anniversary on PBS, a stellar roster of diverse alumni share their personal stories of what Great Performances has meant to them, with performances by Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, Don Henley, David Hyde Pierce, Josh Groban, Itzhak Perlman, Peter Martins, Patti Austin and Take 6, Met Opera star Elīna Garanča and Michael Bublé.

Premiered October 18, 2013

The Great American Songbook

This treasure trove of musical clips overflows with the very best of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, and many more artists.

Full episode not available at this time

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy

From Irving Berlin to Stephen Sondheim, and from Fanny Brice to Barbra Streisand, the film explores the phenomenon of how Jewish-American songwriters created a uniquely American art form. The award-winning documentary is by Michael Kantor, creator of the Emmy-winning series, Broadway: The American Musical.

Premiered January 1, 2013 | Video expires January 1, 2017

The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater

The Thomashefskys brings to life the words and music of the American Yiddish theater. The lead characters — Bessie and Boris Thomashefky — also happen to be the grandparents of San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas, who serves as guide through the lives and repertoire of his grandparents.

Premiered March 29, 2012


Featuring the original Broadway cast, including Tony nominees Chad Kimball and Montego Glover. Memphis is the historic first Best Musical Tony Award winner to air on U.S. national television with its original principals while simultaneously continuing a successful Broadway run and national tour.

Premiered February 23, 2012
Full episode not available at this time