PBS Great Performances Sets 'Broadway's Best' Lineup With Sutton Foster, Sara Bareilles, Chita Rivera & More

Great Performances: Celebrating 50 Years of Broadway’s Best premieres Friday, May 12 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.

By: Apr. 14, 2023
PBS Great Performances Sets 'Broadway's Best' Lineup With Sutton Foster, Sara Bareilles, Chita Rivera & More
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In celebration of Great Performances' 50th anniversary season, the series will Raise the Curtain on a starry "Broadway's Best" schedule of programs featuring dazzling musical numbers and high drama.

The lineup kicks off with a star-studded concert celebrating Broadway during the series' 50 years on PBS spanning from the early 1970s to the present day.

Showcasing songs from Stephen Schwartz to Andrew Lloyd Webber, the concert is hosted by two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster and features performances by three-time Tony Award winner Chita Rivera singing "All That Jazz," two-time Tony Award nominee Sara Bareilles singing from her award-winning musical "Waitress," Tony Award nominee Vanessa Williams performing from "Kiss of the Spider Woman," and many more.

Next up in May, Danai Gurira (Black Panther, The Walking Dead) stars in the title role of The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III, directed by Tony-nominated director Robert O'Hara.

For the "Broadway's Best" grand finale, Sutton Foster returns in an encore broadcast of Anything Goes from London's West End directed by Kathleen Marshall. Great Performances' "Broadway's Best" lineup premieres Fridays, May 12-26 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/broadwayonpbs and the PBS app.

Great Performances: Celebrating 50 Years of Broadway's Best

Premieres Friday, May 12 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/broadwayonpbs and the PBS app

On the occasion of Great Performances' golden anniversary, enjoy a star-studded revue of milestone Broadway shows from 1973 to 2023, spotlighting songs by legendary composers including Stephen Schwartz, Kander & Ebb, Fats Waller, Stephen Sondheim, Duke Ellington, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and many more.

Hosted by two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster, the musical celebration from Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater is directed and choreographed by Tony winner Warren Carlyle with Patrick Vaccariallo as music director.

Performing works that illustrate the evolution of contemporary Broadway, the show features a tap number from Jelly's Last Jam performed by Corbin Bleu; a tribute to "A Chorus Line" featuring Tony-winning original cast member Donna McKechnie joined by Robyn Hurder; the original "Wiz" André De Shields performing "So You Wanted To See The Wizard"; "She Used to Be Mine" performed by Sara Bareilles; and Chita Rivera performing her signature song "All That Jazz" from Chicago.

Additional stars joining the celebration include Shoshana Bean, Raúl Esparza, Ledisi, Norm Lewis, Rob McClure, Patina Miller, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Mamie Parris, Solea Pfeiffer, Britton Smith, Jessica Vosk and Vanessa Williams. The celebratory concert, recorded on March 23, serves as a testament to how musical theater can resonate so powerfully.

Great Performances: Richard III

Premieres Friday, May 19 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/broadwayonpbs and the PBS app

Starring Danai Gurira (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Walking Dead) in the title role with Tony Award winner Ali Stroker (Oklahoma!) as Lady Anne, Tony Award nominee Robert O'Hara (Broadway's Slave Play) directs this Shakespearean tragedy spotlighting one of The Bard's most indelible villains. Portraying the title character's lust for power and the throne, Danai Gurira gives a performance The New York Times called "unflaggingly energetic" and "vocally thrilling." Richard III uses his words and sinister charm to conceal his dismantling of government and justice by manipulating, kidnapping and killing all who stand between him and the throne. The production also features performers and scenes utilizing American Sign Language.

Great Performances: Anything Goes

Airs Friday, May 26 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/broadwayonpbs and the PBS app

An encore from last year's popular "Broadway's Best" lineup, Anything Goes stars two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster reprising her award-winning performance as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter's golden age musical, restaged in London's West End and also starring three-time Olivier Award and Tony Award winner Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot.

Telling the tale of romance on the high seas aboard the SS American, Tony-winning choreographer Kathleen Marshall directs the London revival production featuring Porter's timeless hits, including "I Get a Kick Out of You," "You're the Top" and the title song "Anything Goes." When the ship sets sail for London, etiquette and convention dive overboard as two unlikely romances find a course to true love, proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, disguised identities and some old-fashioned blackmail.

Throughout its 50-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided 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. Showcasing a diverse range of artists from around the world, the series has earned 67 Emmy Awards and six Peabody Awards.

The Great Performances website hosts exclusive videos, interviews, photos, full episodes and more. The series is produced by The WNET Group. Great Performances is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on PBS.org and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO.

For Great Performances: Celebrating 50 Years of Broadway's Best: Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle. Music director, Patrick Vaccariello. Directed for television by David Horn, produced by Mitch Owgang and co-produced and written by Dave Boone.

For Great Performances: Richard III: A production of The WNET Group in association with The Public Theater. Directed by Robert O'Hara, produced by Mitch Owgang and directed for television by David Horn.

For Great Performances: Anything Goes: Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall. Directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon. Marc Allenby, Alice De Rosa, Austin Shaw, Sir Howard Panter, Dame Rosemary Squire, and David Lazar are producers; Joshua Andrews and Stuart Galbraith are executive producers.

For Great Performances, Bill O'Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

Series funding for Great Performances is provided by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Jody and John Arnhold, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Lorraine A. Egan and the late Richard T. Egan, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, the Jack Lawrence Trust, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Leni and Peter May, the Estate of Worthington Mayo-Smith, Seton J. Melvin, the Abra Prentice Foundation LLC, The Starr Foundation, and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III. Additional funding for Great Performances: Anything Goes was made possible by The Merle and Shirley Harris Fund and The Lewis "Sonny" Turner Fund for Dance.

Photo Credit Joe Sinnott