Theater lovers everywhere should head to PBS the next three Friday evenings to enjoy new premieres in the 5th annual “Broadway’s Best” lineup from the acclaimed Great Performance series. In Washington, it will be broadcast on WETA at 9 p.m. and will also be available nationwide for streaming from the PBS website and PBS Video app as part of #PBSForTheArts.
First up, on Friday, May 13, is a videotaped recording of the West End revival of Cole Porter’s classic Anything Goes.
Based on the acclaimed 2011 Broadway revival, the London production sees Tony-winning choreographer Kathleen Marshall reprising her role as director and also Tony-winner Sutton Foster reprising her role as Reno Sweeney and making her West End debut.
P.G. Wodehouse’s tale of romance aboard the SS American, “where etiquette and convention dive overboard as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love,” all set to Porter’s timeless score, this Anything Goes revival also features three-time Olivier- and Tony-winner Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal, and Gary Wilmot.
It’s followed on Friday, May 20, by the broadcast premiere of Jocelyn Bioh’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Recorded last summer from The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, Merry Wives is set in South Harlem, where immigrants of West African diaspora are living side-by-side with their African-American neighbors, and where some wily wives, including Pascale Armand as Madam Ekua Page and Susan Kelechi Watson as Madam Nkechi Ford, outwit the charlatan Falstaff (Jacob Ming-Trent) “in a celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality.”
Finally, on Friday, May 27, a new documentary spotlights the current celebrated Broadway revival and legacy of Company, the Stephen Sondheim and George Furth musical.
Under the working title Keeping Company with Sondheim, the documentary, filmed over the course of two years, offers an exclusive inside look at director Marianne Elliott’s creative process of bringing a reimagined gender-swapped production to Broadway during the pandemic, featuring rehearsal and performance footage, plus new interviews with Elliott, Sondheim, Katrina Lenk, Patti LuPone, and members of the original 1970 cast.
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