Linda Ronstadt and Rainn Wilson Are Among Hosts for Upcoming PBS Arts Festival; Details Announced | Playbill

News Linda Ronstadt and Rainn Wilson Are Among Hosts for Upcoming PBS Arts Festival; Details Announced
Tony Award nominee Linda Ronstadt (The Pirates of Penzance), actor Rainn Wilson (London Assurance, The Tempest), film director Taylor Hackford, actor Andy Garcia, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash and journalist Paula Zahn are among the celebrity hosts for PBS' multi-platform arts festival, beginning Oct. 14 and airing every Friday through Dec. 16.

Rainn Wilson
Rainn Wilson

The hosts will open and close the broadcasts and introduce locally produced short films that accompany the main programs. The arts festival features artists such as Bill T. Jones and Steve Martin, as well as performances from nine different communities around the country.

"It’s thrilling to have each of our hosts guide us in this nine-week journey into the best of American performing arts, and to explore the local stories that shape culture in communities across the country," said PBS president and CEO Paula A. Kerger in a statement.

The arts festival will continue every Friday night into December and "will contain full-length performances, behind-the-scenes interviews, profiles of artists and performers, and mini-documentaries about the art scenes in Miami, San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago, the Blue Ridge Mountains and other regions."

Here are the programs featured in the festival:

"PBS Arts from Minnesota: Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore," hosted by Wilson Oct. 14, features a new production of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic from the Guthrie Theater, directed by the theatre’s artistic director, Joe Dowling. "PBS Arts from Seattle: American Masters 'Pearl Jam Twenty'," hosted by Hackford Oct. 21, celebrates the 20th anniversary of Pearl Jam. Award-winning director and music journalist Cameron Crowe chronicles the years leading up to the band's formation and offers never-before-seen footage.

"PBS Arts from Miami: Great Performances 'Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine & Tharp'," hosted by Garcia Oct. 28, will show Edward Villella’s Miami City Ballet in a trio of signature works by George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp. The program will include the company’s performances of Balanchine’s “Square Dance” and “Western Symphony” and Tharp’s “The Golden Section.”

"PBS Arts from the Blue Ridge Mountains: Give Me the Banjo," hosted by Cash Nov. 4, will be narrated by actor/comedian Steve Martin, a banjoist himself, and explores the roots of American music—the minstrel show, ragtime and early jazz, blues, old-time, folk, bluegrass and country.

"PBS Arts from Chicago: American Masters 'Bill T. Jones: A Good Man'," airing Nov. 11, will follow the Tony Award-winning choreographer on his creative journey with Fondly Do We Hope... Fervently Do We Pray, an original dance-theatre piece in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial.

"PBS Arts from Cleveland: Women Who Rock," set for Nov. 18, is a performance documentary that traces the mark that women musicians have made on America’s soundtrack. Inspired by the “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, “Women Who Rock” reveals new insights into what it means to be female in the male-dominated world of rock and roll, while exploring how those dynamics between the sexes have changed with time.

"PBS Arts from Los Angeles: Great Performances 'Il Postino from LA Opera'," hosted by Ronstadt Nov. 25, will feature tenor Plácido Domingo at the LA Opera in a production of Il Postino, by composer Daniel Catán, based on the Oscar-winning Italian film.

"PBS Arts from New York: Great Performances 'Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park'," hosted by Zahn Dec. 2, will feature internationally acclaimed tenor Bocelli performing his free concert in Central Park. Bocelli will be accompanied by the New York Philharmonic, under the direction of music director Alan Gilbert and the Westminster Symphonic Choir, conducted by Joe Miller.

"PBS Arts from San Francisco: Great Performances 'The Little Mermaid from San Francisco Ballet'," debuting Dec. 16, will show the classic fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen in San Francisco Ballet’s production of John Neumeier’s ballet. The Little Mermaid also has an original score by Russian-American composer Lera Auerbach.

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