Joe Mantegna, Gary Sinise Hosts PBS's NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT Tonight, 5/27

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On the eve of Memorial Day, a star-studded line-up will grace the stage for one of PBS' highest-rated programs, the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT. The multi award-winning television event has truly become an American tradition, honoring the service and sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform, their families at home and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The concert will feature riveting performances from some of the world's biggest stars. In addition, acclaimed actors will present personal stories of love and sacrifice submitted by viewers through the concert's "Virtual Wall of Remembrance" (see page 3.) The NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT will air live in HD on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol tonight, May 27, 2012 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, as well as to our troops serving around the world on the American Forces Network.

The program is co-hosted for the seventh year by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna (CRIMINAL MINDS) and Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise (CSI:NEW YORK), two acclaimed actors who have dedicated themselves to veteran's causes and supporting our troops in active service. They will be joined by an all-star line-up including: distinguished American leader Colin L. Powell USA (Ret.); the multi-platinum rock band Daughtry; nine-time Grammy award-winner, singer and songwriter Natalie Cole; country music superstar Trace Adkins; acclaimed film and television actress Selma Blair; Emmy, Oscar and Tony award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn; Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor and Vietnam veteran Dennis Franz; and world renowned tenor Russell Watson; in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly (additional talent to be announced).

Mantegna made his Broadway debut in Stephen Schwartz's musical adaptaion of Studs Terkel's Working. He was awarded the Tony and Joseph Jefferson Award for his acclaimed performance as cynical real-estate agent Richard Roma in David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross.

The actor also starred in the theatrical premiere of A Life in the Theater, The Disappearance of the Jews at the Goodman Theater, and in the Broadway production of Speed the Plow with Ron Silver and Madonna. In addition, he directed a critically acclaimed stage production of Mamet's Lakeboat, starring Ed O'Neil and George Wendt, in a successful Los Angeles theatrical run.

Featured stories in the 2012 NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT will include:

A heartfelt welcome home to our troops who have been serving in Iraq and Afghanistan;
The poignant story of a young widow who lost her husband in Afghanistan;
A segment profiling the heroic and brave efforts of veterans from all wars; and
A closer look at the plight of homeless American veterans.

"Each year on the eve of Memorial Day, we gather at the U.S. Capitol to share the real stories of fallen and wounded heroes, their families, and their combat buddies as a way to remember, to grieve and begin to heal," said concert co-host Joe Mantegna. "Every one of your stories of remembrance is important to us. We are honored to be able to share these moving tributes from our loyal viewers as we remember the sacrifices made by so many to preserve our freedoms."

The U.S Joint Chiefs of Staff will also participate in the event along with The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Army Chorus, The Soldiers Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, The U.S. Navy Sea Chanters, the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, the Armed Forces Color Guard and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

The program is a co-production of Jerry Colbert of Capital Concerts and WETA, Washington, D.C. For the 2012 event, executive producer Jerry Colbert and producer Michael Colbert has assembled an award-winning production team that features the top Hollywood talent behind some of television's most prestigious entertainment awards shows. The team includes: Emmy award-winning producer Walter C. Miller, whose credits include the GRAMMY AWARDS and COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS; award-winning director Paul Miller whose credits include THE COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE; and veteran television writer Joan Meyerson who was honored with distinguished Writer's Guild Awards for the 2010 and 2006 broadcasts of the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT.

About Capital Concerts

Capital Concerts is the production force behind two of television's longest-running and highest-rated live programs commemorating America's most important holidays. THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT, the nation's tribute to our men and women in uniform, and A CAPITOL FOURTH, our country's biggest birthday party, have become American traditions that have consistently ranked among the highest rated programs on PBS over the past decade.

Both holiday specials have been honored with over 70 awards including the New York Film Festival Award, the Telly Award, the Golden Cine Award, the Videographer Award, the National Education Association Award, the Aurora Award, the Christopher Award, the Communicator's Award, the AXIEM Award, the Omni Award and the Writer's Guild of America Award.
Underwriters

The NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT is made possible by grants from the LockheEd Martin Corporation, the National Park Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of the Army, General Dynamics, PBS and public television stations nationwide. Air travel is provided by American Airlines.