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VIDEO: Sneak Peek at PBS' GREAT PERFORMANCES 40th Anniversary - Audra McDonald, David Hyde Pierce and More!

Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers nationwide with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts.

In celebration of this extraordinary legacy on the occasion of the series' 40th anniversary on PBS, a stellar roster of diverse alumni gather to share their personal stories of what Great Performances has meant to them, with reminiscences and performances by Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, Don Henley, David Hyde Pierce, Josh Groban, Itzhak Perlman, Peter Martins, Patti Austin and Take 6, Met Opera star El?na Garan?a and Michael Bublé. The evening, taped at Lincoln Center last November, will be televised on Great Performances, Friday, October 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Click below to watch a preview!

The program will launch this year's PBS Arts Fall Festival, a multi-platform event anchored by seven films that highlight artists and performances from around the country, with related online content.

Musical performances and anecdotes are interspersed with highlights from some of the most memorable Great Performances of the past, grouped by genre: musical theater, rock, classic and contemporary drama, classical music, dance, jazz, opera, and the pop standards from American Songbook.

Over the course of its four decades, Great Performances has provided a national stage where popular artists not only reveal the surprising dimensions of their creative gifts but often surpass expectations. Great Performances has also offered artists the opportunity to celebrate and pay homage to the influential figures in their lives and careers, as well as be the first to spotlight emerging artists with their feature-length television debut.

Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America's most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Over the course of its four decades, the series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.

The Great Performances 40th Anniversary Gala is directed by David Horn and produced by Bill O'Donnell, Mitch Owgang, Richard R. Schilling and John Walker; David Horn is executive producer. The program is dedicated to popular music legend Phil Ramone, who served as music producer for the production before his untimely death in March 2013.

VIDEO: Sneak Peek at PBS' GREAT PERFORMANCES 40th Anniversary - Audra McDonald, David Hyde Pierce and More!

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