Parts of this article (those related to Seasons since 1985) need to be updated.January 2016)(
|Created by||Jac Venza|
|Directed by||Steve Ruggi|
|Presented by|| Walter Cronkite (1988–2009)|
Julie Andrews (1989–present)
|Theme music composer||John Williams|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||48|
|Original release||November 4, 1972 –|
Great Performances is a television anthology series dedicated to the performing arts; the banner has been used to televise theatrical performances such as plays, musicals, opera, ballet, concerts, as well as occasional documentaries. It is produced by the PBS member station WNET in New York City (originally in conjunction with KQED/San Francisco, WTTW/Chicago, Maryland Public Television, South Carolina ETV and KERA-TV/Dallas/Fort Worth).
The series is the longest-running performing arts anthology on television and has won 29 Primetime Emmy Awards, three Peabody Awardsand an Image Award, with nods from the Directors Guild of America and the Cinema Audio Society.
Great Performances' predecessor, New York Playhouse, premiered on October 7, 1972 with a production of Antigone .In 1973, Exxon and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting provided grants to create Theater in America, which reran the New York Playhouse and some NET Playhouse productions. The first original production for Theater in America was of Enemies . In 1974, WNET added The Great Performance, a series of classical concerts.
In 1976, Great Performances became the umbrella title and the music section was named Music in America. A third section, Dance In America, was also added.The first episode "Sue's Leg: Remembering the Thirties" featured choreography by Twyla Tharp. Later episodes featured such performers as Mikhail Baryshnikov. Although it is not seen as often as previously, there have recently been new Dance in America programs, such as the Emmy-winning 2005 production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake , starring Angel Corella, Gillian Murphy and the American Ballet Theatre.
In 2007, Great Performances began telecasting performances from the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series,a series of HD opera tapings re-purposed from their original purpose as Fathom Events films carried in high-quality movie theaters for a premium admission price.
Repeat guest hosts include Walter Cronkite, Julie Andrews and Whoopi Goldberg. Major underwriters throughout the show's run have included The National Endowment for the Arts, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS viewers, Exxon, Martin Marietta, Texaco, Deluxe, Duracell, Ernst & Young, Chase Manhattan Bank and UBS.
In 2009, a new theme music for Great Performances was introduced, composed by John Williams.
Great Performances has received generally positive reviews from television critics and parents of young children. Roger Catlin of Hartford Courant wrote, "The classiest thing on TV."Ryan Berenz of Channel Guide Magazine wrote, "Annie Lennox brings the house down." Linda Winer of Newsday wrote for the episode, Billy Elliot, "As good as it gets." Marissa Martinelli of Slate wrote for the episode, An American in Paris, "Spectacular."
Alvin Ailey, a.k.a. Alvin Ailey Jr., was an African-American dancer, director, choreographer, and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT). He created AAADT and its affiliated Ailey School as havens for nurturing black artists and expressing the universality of the African-American experience through dance. His work fused theater, modern dance, ballet, and jazz with black vernacular, creating hope-fueled choreography that continues to spread global awareness of black life in America. Ailey's choreographic masterpiece Revelations is recognized as one of the most popular and most performed ballets in the world. In this work he blended primitive, modern and jazz elements of dance with a concern for black rural America. On July 15, 2008, the United States Congress passed a resolution designating AAADT a “vital American cultural ambassador to the World.” That same year, in recognition of AAADT's 50th anniversary, then Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared December 4 "Alvin Ailey Day" in New York City while then Governor David Paterson honoured the organization on behalf of New York State.
David Earl Garrison is an American actor. His primary venue is live theatre, but he is best known as the character Steve Rhoades in the television series, Married... with Children. He has also appeared in numerous theatrical roles, particularly that of The Wizard on both Broadway and in many tours of the musical Wicked.
The Charlie Rose Show is an American television interview and talk show, with Charlie Rose as executive producer, executive editor, and host. The show was syndicated on PBS until 2017 and is owned by Charlie Rose, Inc. Rose interviewed thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, businesspersons, leaders, scientists, and fellow newsmakers.
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Bill Rauch is an American theatre director. He was named the inaugural artistic director of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center in 2016. Currently in development, the Perelman is the final piece of the plan to revitalize the World Trade Center site and will create work which inspires hope.
Jac Venza is an American public television producer who is directly responsible for most of the theatre and music programs that have been seen on PBS since its creation in 1970. From the early 1960s until his retirement in 2005, Venza brought such programs as NET Playhouse, Live from Lincoln Center, American Playhouse, American Masters, and Great Performances to millions of viewers. He won a Personal Peabody Award in 1998.
Susan Steinberg is an American television producer, writer, and director. She is sometimes credited as Sue Steinberg.
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