The series, which premiered in 2004, contains rare archival footage, private home movies, newsreels, still photos, diary excerpts, personal correspondences and original cast recordings. "Broadway: The American Musical" chronicles the 100-year-old genre and its relationship with 20th century American life from its early inception to its current proliferation.
PBS is currently re-airing the series Sunday evenings. The new Blu-ray release also includes bonus material and the special featurette: "Wicked: The Road to Broadway."
Filled with such moments in Broadway history as George Gershwin's travels to Folly Island (where he began to compose Porgy and Bess), Oklahoma!'s opening night, and comedienne Fanny Brice's rendition of "My Man," the documentary traces the musical from The Ziegfeld Follies and Ethel Merman's performance of "I've Got Rhythm," to a backstage look at the opening night of the current Broadway musical Wicked.
Produced and directed by Michael Kantor (Ken Burns' "The West" and Ric Burns' "New York: A Documentary Film"), "Broadway: The American Musical" is a co-production of Ghost Light Films, Thirteen/WNET New York, NHK, and BBC in association with Carlton International. Bill O'Donnell is supervising producer. Jac Venza and David Horn are executive producers.
Among the writers, lyricists, producers, performers, directors, choreographers and critics assembled for "Broadway: The American Musical" are Mel Brooks, Carol Channing, Betty Comden, Agnes De Mille, Harvey Fierstein, Bob Fosse, Brendan Gill, Frances Gershwin Godowsky, Adolph Green, Joel Grey, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Jerry Herman, Al Hirschfeld, Margo Jefferson, John Kander and Fred Ebb, John Lahr, Rocco Landesman, James Lapine, Arthur Laurents, Galt MacDermot, Jerry Mitchell, "Ziegfeld Girl" Dana O'Connell, Jerry Orbach, Harold Prince, Jerome Robbins, Gerald Schoenfeld, Stephen Sondheim, Peter Stone, Tommy Tune, Ben Vereen, George Wolfe and many others. The episodes follow:
Episode 1: Give My Regards to Broadway (1893-1927)
Episode 2: Syncopated City (1919-1933)
Episode 3: I Got Plenty O' Nuttin' (1930-1942)
Episode 4: Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' (1943-1960)
Episode 5: Tradition (1957-1979)
Episode 6: Putting It Together (1980-Present)
Visit pbs.org/broadway for additional information.