The fireworks extravaganza — filmed live at the U.S. Capitol — airs on PBS stations around the country July 4 from 8-9:30 PM ET; check local listings. The 90-minute special boasts performances by Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, "American Idol" winner and current Grease star Taylor Hicks, opera singer Harolyn Blackwell, Huey Lewis & The News, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hayley Westenra and figure skater Scott Hamilton. Erich Kunzel conducts the National Symphony Orchestra.
The program will also capture fireworks displays at various landmarks in the national's capital. Eighteen TV cameras will be stationed around Washington, DC, with filming from the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the Washington Monument and across the Potomac River.
In a statement host Smits said, "I am honored to host 'A Capitol Fourth' live from our nation's capital. You don't want to miss this year's all-star cast and the most amazing fireworks display ever. I hope you'll join me and the millions of Americans watching at home in what is truly America's biggest birthday party."
"A Capitol Fourth" can also be heard live in stereo over National Public Radio and is broadcast to U.S. military personnel in more than 175 countries and aboard 140 U.S. Navy ships at sea on the American Forces Network (AFN).