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PBS STATIONS TO BROADCAST A WHITE HOUSE CELEBRATION OF BROADWAY AND THE AMERICAN MUSICAL

Continuation of Emmy Award-Nominated “In Performance at the White House” Series Features Nathan Lane, Idina Menzel, and Brian d’Arcy James, Airing October 20

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House” is a PBS music special in the East Room of the White House; WETA Washington, D.C., will produce the television program in association with Margo Lion, Ltd. and 101 Productions, Ltd., and it will be directed by Broadway luminary George C. Wolfe. President and Mrs. Obama will host the event on Monday, July 19, featuring a series of performances by major Broadway artists and new talent, presenting selections from American musicals that reflect the spirit, energy and ambition of America. The evening will include Nathan Lane, Idina Menzel, Brian d’Arcy James, Audra McDonald, Chad Kimball, Marvin Hamlisch, Karen Olivo, Tonya Pinkins, Assata Alston and a youth ensemble from the Joy of Motion Dance Center. (Program subject to change.) The sixty-minute television special, part of the Emmy Award-nominated PBS “In Performance at the White House” series, will premiere Wednesday, October 20 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide, followed by an encore presentation at 10 p.m. (Check local listings.)

This event, including the President’s remarks, will be available for press via the White House Press Corps pool feed and streamed on www.whitehouse.gov and www.pbs.org/
whitehouse.

“WETA is proud to join the White House in bringing this display of the theatrical arts to the American people,” noted Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA. “This event marks the forty-fifth production of the WETA ‘In Performance at the White House’ series and it is our pleasure to continue this legacy of sharing the rich cultural life of this country with the public.”

“PBS will bring the Great White Way to our nation’s capital for one special evening, and we’re proud to offer every American a front-row seat,” said Paula A. Kerger, PBS president and CEO. “PBS is enthusiastically working to create more projects like this, which make art and culture more accessible and help all Americans to feel more connected to each other and their communities.”

“CPB is proud to support this program, and the ‘In Performance at the White House’ series,” remarked Pat Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). “CPB is committed to the development of programs that inspire, educate, inform and entertain.”

“A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House” will be the fifth “In Performance at the White House” program during President Barack Obama’s administration. A February 2009 event, “In Performance at the White House - Celebrating the Music of Stevie Wonder: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize,” honored musician Stevie Wonder’s receipt of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. An October 2009 concert, “In Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina,” celebrated Hispanic musical heritage with a star-studded line-up that included Marc Anthony, José Feliciano and Eva Longoria Parker. A February 2010 event, “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement,” marked Black History Month with performances by such artists as Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson and Bob Dylan. More recently, a June 2010 concert, “Paul McCartney: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song In Performance at the White House,” honored Sir Paul McCartney’s receipt of the Gershwin Prize; that music special will premiere Wednesday, July 28 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide. (Check local listings.)

“In Performance at the White House” has been produced by WETA since 1978 and spans every administration since President Carter’s. The series began with an East Room recital by the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz. Since then, “In Performance at the White House” has embraced virtually every genre of American performance: pop, country, gospel, jazz, blues, theatre and dance among them. The series was created to showcase the rich fabric of American culture in the setting of the nation’s most famous home. Past programs have showcased such talent as cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, dancer/choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov, popular music singers Linda Ronstadt and Alison Krauss, jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, the United States Marine Band, soul and jazz singers Natalie Cole and Aretha Franklin, leading Broadway performers, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

“A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House” is a production of WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Margo Lion, Ltd. and 101 Productions, Ltd. The “In Performance at the White House” series was created by WETA Washington, D.C. The executive producers are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson. The “In Performance at the White House” producer is Jackson Frost. The event producer is Margo Lion and the event director is George C. Wolfe. The music director is Rob Berman. Foundation support is provided by The Annenberg Foundation. Major funding is also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers.

For more information about “A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House” visit www.pbs.org/whitehouse. An electronic press kit, including downloadable talent photos for promotional use, is available at pressroom.pbs.org.

WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station for public television. WETA’s other productions and co-productions include “PBS NewsHour,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal,” “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize” and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including the premiere this September 28 of “The Tenth Inning,” a continuation of the beloved “BASEBALL” series. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.

PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans — from every walk of life — the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches more than 115 million people on-air and online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 and is steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,100 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services. More information about CPB is available at www.cpb.org.

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Press Contacts

Kate Kelly
kkelly@weta.org

Carrie Johnson
cjohnson@pbs.org