According to press notes, "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."
The evening was taped at Lincoln Center last November and launchs the 2013 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 theatre, rock, classic and contemporary drama, classical music, dance, jazz, opera, and the pop standards from American Songbook.
Highlights from the evening include the GP Overture; Audra McDonald performing "Dear Friend" (from She Loves Me) and "Stars and the Moon"; Josh Groban performing "Changing Colors" and "Not While I’m Around" (from Sweeney Todd); Itzhak Perlman performing "Dem Trisker Rebn's Nign" and "A Dudele" (with Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot and the Klezmer Conservatory Band); the New York City Ballet performing "It Should Have Been Me"; Don Henley performing "Desperado"; Take 6 performing "Just in Time" (from Bells are Ringing); Patti Austin and Take 6 performing "How High the Moon"; Elīna Garanča performing "Chanson Boheme" (Gypsy Song) (from Carmen); and Michael Bublé performing "That's All" and "I've Got the World on a String."
"The Great Performances 40th Anniversary Gala" is directed by David Horn and produced by Bill O'Donnell, Mitch Owgang, Richard R. Schilling and John Walker; David Horn is executive producer.
The program is dedicated to popular music legend Phil Ramone, who served as music producer for the production before his death in March 2013.
All The Way
Bullets Over Broadway
Of Mice and Men
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Realistic Joneses
The Velocity of Autumn
Tony n' Tina's Wedding