Great Performances Presents Fifth “Broadway’s Best” Lineup Fridays, May 13-27 on PBS
Features beloved musical “Anything Goes,” the broadcast premiere of “Merry Wives” from The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park and new documentary “Keeping Company with Sondheim”
This spring, Great Performances returns with its fifth annual “Broadway’s Best” lineup, premiering Fridays, May 13-27 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/broadwayonpbs and the PBS Video app as part of #PBSForTheArts. The spring lineup raises the curtain with the West End revival of Cole Porter’s classic musical Anything Goes, featuring Tony Award winners Sutton Foster and Robert Lindsay; Merry Wives, recorded live from The Delacorte Theater marking the return of The Public Theater’s beloved Free Shakespeare in the Park following the COVID-19 shutdown; and Keeping Company with Sondheim, a documentary spotlighting the current acclaimed Broadway revival and legacy of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical “Company,” featuring new interviews with Sondheim, Tony and Grammy winner Katrina Lenk, two-time Tony and two-time Grammy winner Patti LuPone and more.
Great Performances: Anything Goes
Broadway star Sutton Foster reprises her Tony Award-winning performance as Reno Sweeney and makes her West End debut in P.G. Wodehouse and Cole Porter’s golden age musical, also starring three-time Olivier Award and Tony Award winner Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot. Telling the tale of romance aboard the SS American set to a timeless score, Tony-winning choreographer Kathleen Marshall directs the London production featuring timeless hits, including “I Get A Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top” and “Anything Goes.” When the ship sets out to sea, etiquette and convention dive overboard as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love, proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, disguise and some old-fashioned blackmail.
Great Performances: Merry Wives
Recorded summer 2021 at The Public Theater’s beloved Free Shakespeare in the Park, Great Performances presents playwright Jocelyn Bioh’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedic spinoff “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Directed by The Public’s Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali, the production is set in South Harlem where immigrants of the West African diaspora are living side-by-side with their African American neighbors. A New York story about tricks of the heart, featuring the Bard’s most beloved comedic characters, this farce tells the story of the charlatan Falstaff and the wily wives who outwit him in a celebration of Black joy, laughter and vitality. Stars Jacob Ming-Trent as Falstaff, Pascale Armand as Madam Ekua Page and Susan Kelechi Watson as Madam Nkechi Ford.
Great Performances: Keeping Company with Sondheim
Filmed over two years, this new documentary takes an exclusive inside look at Tony-winning director Marianne Elliott’s creative process of bringing a reimagined gender-swapped production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical “Company” to Broadway during the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring rehearsal and performance footage, plus new interviews with Elliott, Sondheim, Katrina Lenk, Patti LuPone and members of the original 1970 cast, the broadcast tells the story of the show’s Broadway debut in a city on the verge of bankruptcy to its reimagination 50 years later as both Broadway and New York City emerge from one of the greatest crises in contemporary history.
Throughout its nearly 50-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Showcasing a diverse range of artists from around the world, the series has earned 67 Emmy Awards and six Peabody Awards. The Great Performances website hosts exclusive videos, interviews, photos, full episodes and more. The series is produced by The WNET Group.
#PBSForTheArts is a multiplatform campaign that celebrates the arts in America. For more than 50 years, PBS has been the media destination for the arts, presenting dance, theater, opera, visual arts and concerts to Americans in every corner of the country. Previous Great Performances programs include Romeo & Juliet from the National Theatre, The Arts Interrupted and Reopening: The Broadway Revival, as well as The Conductor, premiering Friday, March 25 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). The collection of #PBSForTheArts programs is available at pbs.org/arts and the PBS Video app, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. Curated conversation and digital shorts are also available on PBS social media platforms using #PBSForTheArts.
For Great Performances: Anything Goes: Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall. Directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon. Marc Allenby, Alice De Rosa, Austin Shaw, Sir Howard Panter, Dame Rosemary Squire, and David Lazar are producers; Joshua Andrews and Stuart Galbraith are executive producers. Additional funding for Great Performances: Anything Goes was made possible by The Merle and Shirley Harris Fund and The Lewis “Sonny” Turner Fund for Dance.
For Great Performances: Merry Wives: A Production of The WNET Group in association with The Public Theater. Adapted by Jocelyn Bioh and directed by Saheem Ali. Directed for television by David Horn and produced by Mitch Owgang. Additional funding for Great Performances: Merry Wives was made possible by the Estate of Roland Karlen.
For Great Performances: Keeping Company with Sondheim: A co-production of Sabel Productions, Lone Star Productions and The WNET Group, Great Performances: Keeping Company with Sondheim is directed by Andrew Douglas and produced by David Sabel. Associate producer is Brook Crowley, with Martin Rosenbaum and Adam Low as executive producers.
For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.
Series funding for Great Performances was provided by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Jody and John Arnhold, the Abra Prentice Foundation LLC, The Starr Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, the Seton Melvin Charitable Trust, the Estate of Worthington Mayo-Smith, the Jack Lawrence Charitable Trust and Ellen and James S. Marcus.