PBS' Great Performances series, now in its 25th year, is bringing theatre to your TV several times this season. Included are a visit to the new Globe Theatre, a look at the creation of Ragtime, and a show featuring performer Chita Rivera.
Up tonight, Jan. 21, is "Creating Ragtime." Livent and WNET are co-producing this look at the Toronto/L.A. sensation that just opened on Broadway. E.L. Doctorow, author of the original novel, is featured prominently in the documentary, as are creators Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens and director Frank Galati. Director of the documentary, Sandy Pearl, says, "What we are going for in this film is the full realization of a modern-day producer's [Garth Drabinsky's] quest to create a definitive musical while simultaneously creating the theatre of his dreams."
Upcoming Great Performances include:
* "Porgy And Bess -- An American Voice." A look at George Gershwin's creation of the legendary American folk opera. Interviewees include Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll and William Warfield. (Feb. 4, 1998)
* Feb. 13: A piece on The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, featuring Chita Rivera performing a medley from West Side Story.
* (tentative date) March 6, 1998: A pre-taped concert of Alan Menken's music, to be staged at Carnegie Hall in February 1998. * June 24: "Sam Shepard: Stalking Himself." From Buried Child to The Eyes Of Conseula, a look at one of America's most unique playwrights.
* June 10, 1998: The making of the Cameron Mackintosh London hit, Swan Lake.
Spokesperson Grayson told Playbill On-Line that several of the shows this season fall into a new genre, "performance documentary," which means half the program follows a journalistic, documentary format, with the other half devoted to excerpts from productions/concerts.