Just in time for summer, enjoy three of our favorite programs on Great Performances!
Available from June 1 to July 31
Jonathan Kent’s award-winning production of the classic musical Gypsy features Imelda Staunton as Rose, Lara Pulver as Louise and Peter Davison as Herbie. Gypsy is considered by many to be one of Broadway’s all-time triumphs. It tells the story of ambitious showbiz mother Rose, who treks across the country with her daughters Baby June and Louise in search of success with their homespun vaudeville act. As times change, Rose is forced to accept the demise of vaudeville and the rise of burlesque, as well as her daughters’ quest for autonomy.
With a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show was suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. The score features songs that have since become show standards, and helped launch the career of Sondheim. Among the show’s musical highlights are songs “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Some People,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “Together, Wherever We Go” and “Rose’s Turn.”
Coming in July: Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy
Available from July 1 to August 31
From Irving Berlin to Stephen Sondheim, and from Fanny Brice to Barbra Streisand, this documentary explores the phenomenon of how Jewish-American songwriters created a uniquely American art form. Narrated by Joel Grey, the film explores the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. Featuring interviews and conversations with some of the greatest composers and writers of the Broadway stage, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy showcases the work of some of the nation’s pre-eminent creators of musical theatre including Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Kurt Weill, Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Bock, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Jule Styne and many others.
Dynamic footage includes performances by stars such as David Hyde Pierce (Spamalot), Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara (Nice Work if You Can Get It), Zero Mostel (Fiddler on the Roof), Betty Comden and Adolph Green (On the Town), Nathan Lane (The Producers), Al Jolson (Sinbad), Fanny Brice (The Great Ziegfeld), Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl), Joel Grey (Cabaret), Dick Van Dyke (Bye Bye Birdie), Danny Kaye (Lady in the Dark), Ethel Merman (Gypsy), and Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel (Wicked).
Coming in August: The Sound of Music
Available from August 16 to September 30
Beloved by generations of audiences worldwide, The Sound of Music tells the inspiring true story of the von Trapp Family Singers and their escape from Austria during the rise of Nazism. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1959 hit stage musical garnered five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the blockbuster 1965 movie adaptation won five Oscars, including Best Picture.
Great Performances presents the 2015 live U.K. broadcast version starring Kara Tointon as Maria, Julian Ovenden as Captain von Trapp, Katherine Kelly as Baroness Schraeder, Alexander Armstrong as Max, and Maria Friedman as the Mother Abbess. Cinematically photographed on adjoining sound stages, the production offers a more naturalistic interpretation of this great classic of the American musical theater. Among the many classic songs featured in the score are “The Sound of Music,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Every Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and more.
Stay tuned for updates about Broadway’s Best this year!