PBS Distribution announced that "Broadway: The American Musical," the six-part series that tells the 100-year history of an American institution, comes to Blu-ray for the first time on October 16, just one week after its return to television for six Sunday nights from October 7 through November 11.
The series was nominated for five 2005 Primetime Emmy Awards and won two, including Oustanding Nonfiction Series. Here's the announcement:
Arlington, Va. – September 6, 2012 – PBS Distribution today announced it will release “BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL” on Blu-ray for the first time on October 16, 2012. The six-part series tells two stories: the 100-year history of musical theater and the story of its relationship to 20th-century American life. The documentary is produced and directed by Michael Kantor, whose credits include Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, Give Me the Banjo and Quincy Jones: In the Pocket for the American Masters series. Kantor’s chronological approach begins with the immigrant experience at the turn of the century, when a melting pot of voices and styles gave rise to a popular new form of entertainment. The series ends with contemporary Broadway, where big-budget new productions and revivals of classic favorites compete side by side for box office success. Julie Andrews, Academy Award-winning star of stage, film and television is the series host. “BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL” on Blu-ray has a run time of 360 minute and comes on three discs. The Blu-ray SRP is $39.99. The DVD is currently available.
“BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL” assembled first-person accounts from dozens of theater luminaries: writers, lyricists, producers, performers, directors, and critics. Among them are Mel Brooks, Carol Channing, Jerry Herman, Margo Jefferson, John Kander, Joel Grey, Harvey Fierstein, John Lahr, Donna McKechnie, Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim, Tommy Tune, Ben Vereen, and many others. The many late greats interviewed for the series include Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Brendan Gill, Peter Stone, “Ziegfeld Girl” Dana O’Connell, Al Hirschfeld, Fred Ebb, Arthur Laurents, Jerry Orbach, Kitty Carlisle Hart, John Raitt, Gerald Schoenfeld, Marvin Hamlisch, and Frances Gershwin Godowsky.
The series traverses a century of national events with seismic reverberations on the Broadway stage, including recorded sound, the rise of Hollywood, the Great Depression, both World Wars, labor relations, the advent of television, civil rights, the sexual revolution, and the AIDS crisis. Each of the six films demonstrates how America’s ever-changing cultural landscape is reflected back from the Broadway stage.
To bring this story to life, “BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL” uses an extraordinary collection of archival footage, newsreels, private home movies, original cast recordings, still photos, diary excerpts, personal correspondences, rare television and audio archives, and autobiographical material.
The documentary is geared toward audiences of all ages, offering insights from Irving Berlin, Bert Williams and Yip Harburg through to Agnes DeMille, Harold Prince and George C. Wolfe, while spanning a century of musical productions from Show Boat, Anything Goes and On the Town to Company, Hair and The Producers.
Special features include additional performances; more than three hours of additional interviews with Broadway composers, directors, and stars; and a special featurette: Wicked: The Road to Broadway.
Episode One: Give My Regards to Broadway (1893-1927)
Episode Two: Syncopated City (1919-1933)
Episode Three: I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’ (1930-1942)
Episode Four: Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’(1943-1960)
Episode Five: Tradition (1957-1979)
Episode Six: Putting It Together (1980-2004)
Kantor also co-authored a lavishly illustrated companion book, Broadway: The American Musical with series co-writer and NYU Graduate Acting Associate Chair Laurence Maslon; an updated paperback edition is now available from Applause Books with an introduction by Julie Andrews.
For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.
“BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL” is a co-production of Ghost Light Films, THIRTEEN, NHK, and BBC in association with Carlton International. Directed by Michael Kantor, the series was produced by Kantor with Jeff Dupre and Sally Rosenthal. The series was written by Marc Fields, Michael Kantor, Laurence Maslon, and JoAnn Young. Bill O’Donnell served as supervising producer, with Jac Venza and David Horn as executive producers.