"Broadway: The American Musical" Documentary Will Be Rebroadcast Oct. 7; Blu-Ray Release Planned

By Adam Hetrick
September 24, 2012

"Broadway: The American Musical," the six-part documentary chronicling the history of the American art form featuring Carol Channing, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Harvey Fierstein, Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, will be rebroadcast on New York-area PBS/Thirteen beginning Oct. 7.



Julie Andrews hosts the six-hour, Emmy Award-nominated series, which will air at 10 PM Oct. 7 and continue Sunday evenings through Nov. 11. Check local listings.

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.

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 six-hour lineup follows:

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)

A new Blu-ray edition of the series, with extra material, will be released Oct. 16.

Visit pbs.org/broadway.