Each Summer since 1895, The BBC Proms, formally known as The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, offers an eight-week season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London. In 2009, when the total number of concerts reached 100 for the first time, the highlight of the season was a concert celebrating 75 years of classic MGM film musicals. For the first time, American television audiences can see this spectacular performance in the new public television special A Celebration of Classic MGM Film Musicals.

A CELEBRATION OF CLASSIC MGM FILM MUSICALS premieres Saturday, August 4 at 5:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal in Los Angeles and Saturday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN in New York (check local listings nationally August 2012).

Conductor/arranger John Wilson and his hand-picked John Wilson Orchestra, along with English operatic baritone Sir Thomas Allen, English operatic soprano Sarah Fox, American musical entertainer/actress Kim Criswell, American jazz vocalist Curtis Stiegers, and American animator/director/Grammy nominee Seth MacFarlane celebrate the golden age of Hollywood musicals performing iconic songs from some of cinema’s most enduring movies, including The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St Louis, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, High Society, An American in Paris, Gigi, and Singin’ in the Rain.

The concert is unique as a live performance of movie soundtrack standouts like “Get Happy,” “The Trolley Song,” “Gigi,” and “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” that put American popular culture at the center of the BBC Proms season, but also for the fact that all of the original orchestral parts were lost in 1969 when MGM’s music library was destroyeD. Wilson painstakingly reconstructed the original scores, a decade’s worth of work by the young conductor/arranger.

Song List
“MGM Overture” (written for MGM’s 30th anniversary)
“The Trolley Song” (from Meet Me in St. Louis) - Criswell
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (from The Wizard of Oz) - Criswell
“Steppin’ Out With My Baby” (from Easter Parade) - Stiegers
“Wonderful, Wonderful Day” (from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) – Fox
“Stranger in Paradise” (from Kismet) – Allen/Fox
“Gigi” (from Gigi) - Allen
“Get Happy” (from Summer Stock) - Criswell
“Our Love is Here to Stay” (from An American in Paris) - Stiegers
“You’re Sensational” (from High Society) - MacFarlane
“Singin’ in the Rain” (from Singin’ in the Rain) - MacFarlane
“That’s Entertainment” (from The Band Wagon) – Ensemble<

For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.

A Celebration of Classic MGM Film Musicals is a BBC Production presented by Clive Anderson. For WLIW21, John Servidio is executive in charge of production in association with WNET New York Public Media.

American singer Kim Criswell, who made her Broadway debut in 1981 as Hilda in The First and whose US, UK and French credits include productions of Nine, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Annie Get Your Gun, The Threepenny Opera and Into the Woods, and The Sound of Music, is one of the highlights of a concert that was the talk of the 2009 BBC Proms season will be featured in the presentation. 

About WNET
New York’s WNET is America’s flagship public media outlet, bringing quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. The parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.