PBS Arts Festival Will Feature Sweeney Todd, The Nance, Porgy and Bess Plus Kristin Chenoweth and More; Broadcast Dates Announced

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22 Jul 2014

Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Programming for the 2014 PBS Arts Fall Festival, which returns in September with 11 weekly programs, has been announced.

Hosted by Tony and Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth, the series will launch Sept. 26 at 9 PM ET with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street In Concert with the New York Philharmonic, which features Bryn Terfel in the title role, Oscar winner Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lovett, Tony winner Christian Borle and multiple Tony winner Audra McDonald.

The series will also boast broadcasts of The Nance, starring Tony winner Nathan Lane; The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess; as well as concerts by Michael Feinstein and host Chenoweth.

“PBS’ commitment to the arts, and stature as the only destination for quality arts programming on television is cemented with this fall’s robust, diverse lineup,” said PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger in a statement. “With Live from Lincoln Center and Austin City Limits both celebrating milestone 40th anniversaries, and the tremendously talented group of artists we’re bringing to viewers through the Festival, this fall’s lineup is unprecedented.”

Festival details, according to PBS, follow:



LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER’S 40th Anniversary Season "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street In Concert with the New York Philharmonic”
Sept. 26, 2014, 9 PM-11:30 PM ET
"Throughout its 40-year history, Live from Lincoln Center has been a cornerstone of performing arts broadcasting, presenting the world’s greatest artists and performances in music, dance, and theater from the New York institution’s renowned stages. The New York Philharmonic’s acclaimed production of Stephen Sondheim’s iconic musical thriller Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, staged in March 2014 to a sold-out crowd at Avery Fisher Hall, tells the story of a barber who, with his romantically inclined landlady, Mrs. Lovett the piemaker, seeks vengeance on what he considers a merciless world. The remarkable cast features bass-baritone Bryn Terfel in the title role and Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lovett, with Christian Borle and many more. Multi-Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald hosts."

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS CELEBRATES 40 YEARS
Oct. 3, 9 PM-11 PM ET
"A star-studded special celebrating the trailblazing music series’ 40th anniversary. With guest hosts Jeff Bridges, Sheryl Crow and Matthew McConaughey, the two-hour broadcast features memorable moments from the show’s remarkable run, anchored by the brightest stars in the show’s history returning to the Austin City Limits stage for incredible performances. Highlights include legends Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Foo Fighters, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Gary Clark Jr., Lyle Lovett, Alabama Shakes, Buddy Guy and more celebrating ACL’s legacy as an American music institution for the last four decades."

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER’S 40th Anniversary Season The Nance
Oct. 10, 2014, 9 PM-11:30 PM ET
"Douglas Carter Beane’s The Nance stars Nathan Lane as gay headliner Chauncey Miles, who faces a changing world and his own self-loathing during the fading twilight of burlesque in 1930s New York. The play received five Tony Award nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Lane. In addition, the cast boasts Tony Award-winner Cady Huffman, Lewis J. Stadlen, Jenni Barber, and Jonny Orsini."

THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS FROM SAN FRANCISCO OPERA (by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin)
Oct. 17, 9 PM-midnight
"This production of Porgy and Bess from San Francisco Opera stars bass-baritone Eric Owens as Porgy and soprano Laquita Mitchell as Bess in the turbulent story of a disabled man, the headstrong woman he loves and the community that sustains them both. John DeMain conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this American musical theater staple set in an African-American community on Catfish Row in coastal South Carolina. Porgy and Bess is based on the play by Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, with music by George Gershwin including the celebrated jazz standard 'Summertime.'"

GREAT PERFORMANCES “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek LIVE!”
Oct. 24, 9 PM-10 PM ET
"Inspired by their sensational duet in GP’s recent 'Tony Bennett Duets II,' the greatest living interpreter of the American songbook has recorded a soon to be released new album with America’s reigning pop Diva of today. Teaming up for a very special concert from the stage of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater at New York City’s Time Warner Center, the duo will perform swinging selections from their Cheek to Cheek collaboration."

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN AT THE RAINBOW ROOM
Oct. 31, 9 PM-10 PM ET
"Two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer, Michael Feinstein headlines this all-star evening with performances by Tony winner and Emmy-nominated artist, Christine Ebersole; American Idol sensation Jessica Sanchez; the dynamic tap duo, the Manzari Brothers; Oscar-nominated June Squibb and many more surprises. The performers take the stage at the famed Rainbow Room, the legendary New York restaurant and nightclub where stars were born and legends perform, following its October opening."

HITMAKERS
Nov. 14, 9 PM-10 PM ET
“'Hitmakers' is an up-close look at the music industry’s resilience in the digital age, from the perspective of groundbreaking artists, music label mavericks, and game-changing managers. These crucial players have shaped the music business over the past 100 years, changing pop culture in the process. Today’s artists challenge the paradigm further, taking control of their careers and sometimes shucking the system altogether to record and release music on their own. Record labels large and small also have found they must innovate to thrive. Entertaining and thoughtful, 'Hitmakers' boasts an unforgettable soundtrack. The special features interviews and performances from notable artists such as Melissa Etheridge, The Roots’ Questlove, Sharon Jones, rising DJ/producer Steve Aoki, and many more."

GREAT PERFORMANCES Cats
Nov. 21, 9 PM-11 PM ET
"One of musical theater’s biggest blockbusters returns to Great Performances for an encore presentation. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats reigned over an 18-year Broadway run and unending touring productions that continue to travel the globe. Based on T.S. Eliot’s 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats,' Webber’s hit-filled stage version boasts musical highlights aplenty, including Elaine Paige’s return to her original role as Grizabella, the faded 'glamour cat' singing the show-stopping ballad 'Memory.'"

KRISTIN CHENOWETH: COMING HOME
Nov. 28, 9 PM-10 PM ET
"Emmy and Tony Award-winner Kristin Chenoweth brings it home -- to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma that is -- to perform music from her career. With a classically trained voice set off by a gift for acting and comedy, Chenoweth appears at a state-of-the-art theater that now bears her name, performing Broadway, television and film songs like 'Popular' and 'For Good' from Wicked, songs from her acclaimed performances on 'Glee,' and beloved music from Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and many more. Backed by a 13-piece orchestra led by Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Chenoweth welcomes song and dance friends from Broadway in a program sure to be unforgettable. Produced and directed for television by Scott Lochmus."