by Tony Frankel on July 22, 2021

in Film,TV

New Great Performances Documentary Explores
1959-1983 Broadway Shows
Through Stars’ Personal Stories.
Begins August 14, 2021 on PBS.

Great Performances – Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age explores the world of Broadway from 1959 through the early 1980s as recounted by a diverse cast of Broadway stars who lived through it, creating a first-hand archive of personal backstage stories and memories. Written, directed and produced by the late filmmaker Rick McKay and hosted by two-time Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff, the new documentary is the long-awaited sequel to McKay’s award-winning 2003 film Broadway: The Golden Age – By the Legends Who Were There. This follow-up to McKay’s acclaimed oral history of Broadway continues the saga into the 60s and 70s, spotlighting beloved classic Broadway shows including “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Barefoot in the Park,” “Pippin,” “A Chorus Line,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Chicago” and “42nd Street.”

Particular focus is placed on famed directors and choreographers Gower Champion, Bob Fosse, George Abbott and Michael Bennett with anecdotes from 1959’s “Once Upon A Mattress” through 1983 when “A Chorus Line” became the longest-running show in Broadway history. Featuring a galaxy of stars including Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Glenn Close, André De Shields, Jane Fonda, Robert Goulet, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Dick Van Dyke, Ben Vereen and many more, the film also includes rare archival photos and never-before-seen footage both onstage and off.

Begins nationwide Saturday, August 14 on PBS (check local listings), org/gperf and the PBS Video app.


Notable Talent:

  • Bea Arthur
  • Elizabeth Ashley
  • Alec Baldwin
  • Candy Brown
  • Carol Burnett
  • Glenn Close
  • André De Shields
  • Jane Fonda
  • Robert Goulet
  • Robert Guillaume
  • Cherry Jones
  • Baayork Lee
  • Donna McKechnie
  • Liza Minnelli
  • Robert Morse
  • Jerry Orbach
  • Robert Redford
  • Debbie Reynolds
  • Chita Rivera
  • Eva Marie Saint
  • Liev Schreiber
  • Elaine Stritch
  • Dick Van Dyke
  • Ben Vereen
  • Lesley Ann Warren

A Few Facts:

  • Carol Burnett did not get the part she wanted in a “Babes in Arms” revival, which allowed her to accept her star-making and Tony-nominated role in “Once Upon a Mattress.”
  • After Dick Van Dyke auditioned for “Bye Bye Birdie” for director Gower Champion with Ray Bolger’s signature song, “Once in Love with Amy,” Champion immediately cast Van Dyke in the role of Albert Peterson, which won him a Tony Award.
  • A decades-long passion project for filmmaker Rick McKay who researched, edited, directed and interviewed over 100 Broadway luminaries in a makeshift studio in his apartment, McKay’s untimely death in 2018 halted work on the film until his team of producers brought it to fruition.

Throughout its nearly 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. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). Great Performances is produced by The WNET Group.

Websites: #GreatPerformancesPBS

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