The relationship Luke Frazier cultivated relatively early in the pandemic between his American Pops Orchestra and PBS continues to bear fruit nearly two years later.
The Virginia-based national broadcasting network has aired over a dozen thematic concerts featuring APO as part of its pandemic-born initiative #PBSForTheArts in collaboration with Nouveau Productions, which Frazier runs with his husband Robert Pullen.
All told, the special, star-studded programming to date has been strong in LGBTQ interest and appeal, ranging from an Ella Fitzgerald-themed Christmas show starring Vanessa Williams to the recently launched “Broadway in Concert” series featuring contemporary stars of the Great White Way paying tribute to iconic musicals.
None of the specials have been quite as gay, however, as the latest, the explicitly queer-themed True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs.
Timed to kick off June’s Pride month, the program features real-life stories of hope, resilience, and triumph from members of the LGBTQ community, including former NBA player Jason Collins and acclaimed Sex and the City star and activist Cynthia Nixon, tied together with musical performances by a hodgepodge of queer talent, accompanied by the APO under Frazier and hosted by transgender Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider.
The performance lineup includes the pioneering lesbian folk/rock duo the Indigo Girls with their chart-topping breakout hit “Closer to Fine,” Drag Race alums Peppermint, Alexis Michelle, and Jujubee giving a spin of “(A Little More) Mascara” from La Cage aux Folles, trans opera singer Breanna Sinclairé covering “Somewhere” from West Side Story, and Tony-, Emmy-, and Grammy-winning stage veteran André de Shields (Hadestown) reviving “The Colors of My Life” from the 1980 musical Barnum.
Additional performers include Glee star Chris Colfer, persevering contemporary Christian singer Trey Pearson formerly of the group Everyday Sunday, and young indie-pop artist Morgxn.
Premiering Saturday, June 4, on www.PBS.org, the PBS Video app, and select PBS stations nationwide.
Local affiliate WETA is scheduled to debut the program on Tuesday, June 7, at 8 p.m., while Maryland Public Television has set its first airing for Thursday, June 9, at 8 p.m.
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