‘Great Performances’ showcases Broadway classics this fall

The King And I

“Great Performances” returns with its third annual “Broadway’s Best” lineup of acclaimed theatrical productions on Fridays at 8 p.m. starting Nov. 1 on Arizona PBS.  This fall’s lineup spotlights musicals, comedy and drama throughout the month.

Nov. 1: “42nd Street”

The 1981 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, “42nd Street” is the song and dance, American dream fable of Broadway, featuring the iconic songs “42nd Street,” “We’re In the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and many more. This all-singing and all-tapping musical extravaganza includes a cast of nearly 60 people. Young Peggy Sawyer is fresh off the bus from small-town America and just another face in the chorus line on Broadway’s newest show. But when the leading lady gets injured, Peggy just might have the shot at the top.

Nov. 8: “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘The King and I'”

Based on a true story, the year is 1862, and East and West collide when British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens arrives in Siam (modern day Thailand) to take up her post instructing the royal household of children from the King’s several wives. Despite her sharp wit and strong will, nothing has prepared Anna for the lessons this rich and complicated new land has to teach her — or for the powerful connection she will forge with its imperious but conflicted King. The score features a treasure trove of timeless Rodgers & Hammerstein hits including “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “We Kiss in a Shadow,” “Getting to Know You,” “Something Wonderful,” “I Have Dreamed” and “Shall We Dance?”

Nov. 15: “Red”

Award-winning stage and screen actor Alfred Molina reprises his critically acclaimed performance as the American abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko in the Tony Award-winning 2010 play “Red.” Under the watchful gaze of his young assistant — and the growing competitive presence of a new generation of artists — Rothko takes on his greatest career challenge yet: to create a definitive series of paintings for the Philip Johnson-designed Four Seasons restaurant in architect Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Seagram Building.

Nov. 22: “Much Ado About Nothing”

Set in contemporary Georgia with an election race underway, “Much Ado About Nothing” finds the community of Messina celebrating a break from an ongoing war, but not all is peaceful amid the merriment. Former rivals battle it out, revenge is sought and trickery runs amok in this timeless comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication.

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