The PBS Arts Fall Festival returns Friday nights, beginning October 21, 2016, with all new programs, including the highly anticipated look into the making of the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton, a contemporary take on the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Visionary Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning creator and star, will host this year’s festival. Great Performances “Hamilton’s America” gives viewers a look at Miranda and his colleagues’ creative process during the three years leading up to the Broadway opening of the record-breaking musical winner of 11 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize.
“I’m such a huge fan of PBS. For my entire life it’s been our window into a world of the arts that isn’t available anywhere else on TV,” said Lin-Manuel Miranda. “This year’s PBS Arts Fall Festival lineup is incredible, and I am excited to not only host the festival, but have ‘Hamilton’s America’ kick it off.”
While this and other programs vary by station and date, they will all be telecast on PBS and its various apps. The Hamilton special is currently streaming on the PBS Roku channel, for example.
Other new programs from Great Performances and Live From Lincoln Center, highlight this year’s lineup. On Great Performances, the award-winning West End revival of Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim’s “Gypsy” stars Olivier Award-winner Imelda Staunton, the Oscar-nominated star of Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, playing the unstoppable Momma Rose. Also from Great Performances is “Shakespeare Live! From the Royal Shakespeare Company,” featuring appearances by Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Benedict Cumberbatch and many more as theater luminaries gather to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s remarkably coincidental birth and death on April 23.
Live From Lincoln Center, delivers “Lang Lang’s New York Rhapsody,” a love letter from renowned pianist Lang to the city he calls home. This ode to New York includes both classical and pop music, as guest stars Rufus Wainwright, Suzanne Vega, Regina Spektor and Andra Day also perform. Live From Lincoln Center, also brings to the festival lineup “Joshua Bell’s Seasons of Cuba,” in which violinist Bell performs with the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, which is composed of some of Cuba’s most accomplished classical musicians. Bell dazzles the audience with selections of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and other classic works, building a bridge between Cubans eager to engage with American artists in a new landscape of cultural exchange. Additionally, Lincoln Center at the Movies offers a special presentation of “Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,” featuring a series of works that reflect the company’s spectacular range, diversity and artistry, culminating in a performance of its beloved signature work, Revelations.
Rounding out the festival is Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, presented by Vegas PBS and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Get out your tissues and experience what The New York Times called “an emotional firestorm” as the award-winning television and Broadway star brings down the house with his acclaimed cabaret show.
Arts are an integral part of PBS’ mission and programming priorities. During the 2014-15 season, PBS stations offered nearly 600 hours of arts and cultural programming. The PBS Arts Fall Festival is an annual cornerstone of PBS’ Friday primetime lineup, reaching more than nine million viewers last season, making PBS the largest arts presenter in the country and underscoring PBS’ ongoing commitment to offering audiences the best of the arts on-air and online, year round.
Funding for the 2016 PBS Arts Fall Festival is made possible by generous support from the Anne Ray Charitable Trust.
About the PBS Arts Fall Festival
PBS premieres its sixth annual PBS Arts Fall Festival on Friday, October 21, with host Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton. The PBS Arts Fall Festival, which last year reached more than nine million viewers, is a cornerstone of the Friday primetime lineup, underscoring PBS’ ongoing commitment to give audiences the best seats in the house to watch arts performances on air and online. The festival presents diverse artists and performances from across the country, including programs from Great Performances, Live From Lincoln Center, and more. Most programs will be available online at video.pbs.org/ after their broadcast premiere.