Great Performances 40th Anniversary Celebration
Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers nationwide with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts.
In celebration of this extraordinary legacy on the occasion of the series’ 40th anniversary on PBS, a stellar roster of diverse alumni gather to share their personal stories of what Great Performances has meant to them, with reminiscences and 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. The evening, taped at Lincoln Center last November, will be televised on Great Performances, Friday, Oct. 18, at 9 pm on WILL-TV.
The program will launch this year’s PBS Arts Fall Festival, a multi-platform event anchored by seven films that highlight artists and performances from around the country, with related online content.
Musical performances and anecdotes are interspersed with highlights from some of the most memorable Great Performances of the past, grouped by genre: musical theater, rock, classic and contemporary drama, classical music, dance, jazz, opera, and the pop standards from American Songbook. Introducing the show, Julie Andrews recalls how the series came about in the early 1970s when the networks had already abandoned any consistent cultural programming. “Its simple premise was to provide a home for the world’s greatest artists. The series would be a showcase for the best in music, drama and dance. And as you will see tonight, four decades later, this vision not only succeeded, but it has grown to give viewers across the country a front row seat to the performing arts.”