Coming Up on Season 48 of Great Performances

Produced and directed by the BalletBoyz—the award-winning team of Michael Nunn and William Trevitt—this new film of Kenneth MacMillan’s 1965 ballet adaptation of the romantic classic takes the choreography out of the theater and into the streets of a cinematic Verona, offering viewers an atmospheric reimagining of Shakespeare’s seminal love story. Having worked with MacMillan during their dance careers, Nunn and Trevitt have developed a vivid style of visual story-telling, combining inventive cinematography and dynamic choreography to thrilling effect. Set to Sergei Prokofiev’s majestic score performed by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the film features the current generation of stars from The Royal Ballet—internationally acclaimed as both dancers and actors—including Francesca Hayward as Juliet and William Bracewell as Romeo.

With its first season debuting in fall 2019, Now Hear This is a special mini-series taking viewers on a voyage of musical discovery for aficionados and neophytes alike. Presented by Scott Yoo, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Mexico City Philharmonic, each episode reveals how some of the greatest classical music ever written came to be. On his travels through America and Europe, Yoo meets and collaborates with music experts, promising classical musicians of tomorrow, and other charismatic characters to investigate the creation of these masterpieces and the profound, lasting impact of the music. With Series 1 exploring the music of Vivaldi, Bach, Scarlatti and Handel, Series 2 moves on to the classical era with three new episodes featuring Haydn, Schubert and Mozart, with a Beethoven episode coming in 2021.

GREAT PERFORMANCES presents the fifth annual all-star special showcasing the Recording Academy’s™ 2020 Special Merit Awards recipients, including Lifetime Achievement Award honorees Chicago, Roberta Flack, Isaac Hayes, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Public Enemy and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Ken Ehrlich, Philip Glass and Frank Walker receive the Trustees Award honors, and Louisiana middle school teacher Mickey Smith, Jr. is recognized with the Music Educator Award; George Augspurger is recipient of the Technical GRAMMY Award. Although the spring concert event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebration—hosted by chart-topping producer and songwriter Jimmy Jam—still pays tribute to these diverse music legends through classic performance footage.  Also featured are new performances from talents they have influenced, including Laurie Anderson, Philip Bailey, Brandi Carlile, Cynthia Erivo & Leslie Odom, Jr., Chris Isaak, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Cyndi Lauper, Sam Moore and Yola, with special appearances by Rhiannon Giddens, LL Cool J, John Legend, Joe Mantegna, Henry Rollins and Don Was.

Featuring a Tony Award-winning performance by CBS Late Late Show host James Corden, the hilarious hit One Man, Two Guvnors by playwright Richard Bean delighted critics and audiences alike during its West End and Broadway productions. Adapted from a 1743 Commedia dell’arte farce and reset in the British resort town of Brighton during the Swinging 60s, the manic plot concerns an out-of-work musician named Francis Henshall (Corden), who becomes a bodyguard to a smalltime hood who turns out to be not who he seems. Holed up at a seaside inn, the permanently ravenous Francis sees the chance for an extra meal ticket and takes on a second job with another on-the-lam gangster. To avoid discovery of his double-dealings, Francis must keep his “two guvnors” apart, an increasingly complicated predicament resulting in comic mayhem, and providing Corden with the opportunity for a series of spectacular sight gags and pratfalls.

Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles is the first in-depth documentary to chronicle the complete story of the international Broadway blockbuster Fiddler on the Roof—exploring the unexpected richness of its themes as well as its deep reach across time and cultures.  While on the surface Fiddler is the origin story of the Jewish immigrant coming to America, it is ultimately the saga of all refugees trying to escape persecution in their homeland.  It is musical theater at its most powerful—at once specific but universal, a transcendent cultural landmark like no other that still resonates eloquently with today’s world. Sharing their insights into the show’s timeless impact are Fiddler’s composer and lyricist Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick as well as famous fans including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joel Grey, Topol, Harvey Fierstein and cast members from the hit 2015 Broadway revival.

Roundabout Theatre Company’s festive production of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn – The Broadway Musical returns to GREAT PERFORMANCES for a special seasonal encore.  Inspired by the 1942 Academy Award-winning film starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, Holiday Inn tells the story of Jim, a song & dance man who decides to leave Broadway’s bright lights to settle down at a Connecticut farmhouse.  But country life isn’t quite what he expects until he meets Linda, the schoolteacher next door with talent to spare.  Together, they turn his farmhouse into a seasonal inn with show-stopping performances to celebrate each holiday.  But when Jim’s best friend Ted tries to lure Linda away to be his new Hollywood dance partner, will Jim be able to salvage another chance at love?  Starring Bryce Pinkham, Lora Lee Gayer and Corbin Bleu, the score’s back-to-back Irving Berlin hits include “Cheek to Cheek,” “Easter Parade,” “White Christmas” and many more.

Internationally famous for her powerhouse voice and perfect pitch, Lea Salonga burst onto the Broadway musical scene with her 1991 Tony Award-winning performance as Kim in Miss Saigon. In addition, Salonga has been honored with the Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World awards for her work in the theater. Salonga was also the first Asian cast to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway. Most recently, Salonga starred in the Tony Award-winning 2017 revival of Once on This Island. GREAT PERFORMANCES presents Salonga in peak performance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, singing a selection of songs from her Broadway career as well as her hits from the animated movie blockbusters Aladdin and Mulan.

As the world eagerly says “good riddance” to 2020, GREAT PERFORMANCES continues its tradition of ringing in the New Year with the Vienna Philharmonic at the world-famous Musikverein, with PBS favorite Hugh Bonneville (Masterpiece: Downton Abbey) returning as host for a fourth year.  Featuring everyone’s favorite Strauss Family waltzes, the celebrations also showcase the virtuosic dancing of the Vienna City Ballet performed on location in sumptuous Vienna landmarks.  Every year, the Vienna Philharmonic’s traditional New Year’s program has showcased Viennese musical culture at the highest level since its first television broadcast in 1959.