Television: Curtain Going Up On the 2015 Award-Winning London Production of Gypsy on PBS

Starring Imelda Staunton on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Friday, November 11 at 9 p.m. on the PBS Arts Fall Festival

Jonathan Kent‘s award-winning production of the classic musical Gypsy – a record-breaking sellout during its acclaimed London run – comes to THIRTEEN‘s Great Performances, Friday, November 11 at 9 p.m. on PBS on the PBS Arts Fall Festival. (Check local listings.) Gypsy first appeared in 1959 on Broadway under the title Gypsy: A Musical Fable.

Great Performances: Gypsy

Rose (Imelda Staunton) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

The first London production to be seen for 40 years, the musical opened at England’s Chichester Festival Theatre before moving to the West End‘s Savoy Theatre. A London production had not been seen in the West End since 1973. This critically acclaimed West End production features Imelda Staunton as Rose (The role of Rose is often called the ‘King Lear’ of the musical theatre canon).

Great Performances: Gypsy

Herbie (Peter Davison) and Rose (Imelda Staunton) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

Following a run at the Chichester Festival Theatre, which won the Critics’ Choice Theatre Award for Best Musical in 2014, a West End revival of Gypsy opened at the Savoy Theatre on April 15, 2015, in a limited run through November 28. Directed by Jonathan Kent with choreography by Stephen Mear and set and costume design by Anthony Ward, the production starred Staunton as Rose, Peter Davison as Herbie, Lara Pulver as Louise, Gemma Sutton as June, Anita Louise Combe as Tessie Tura, Louise Gold as Mazzeppa and Julie Legrand as Electra. The London production was nominated for eight Laurence Olivier Awards at the 2016 ceremony, winning four, including Best Actress in a Musical (Staunton) and Best Musical Revival, the most awards won by a single production in that year

Great Performances: Gypsy

Louise (Lara Pulver) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

Gypsy is considered by many to be one of Broadway’s all-time triumphs. It tells the story of ambitious showbiz mother Rose, who treks across the country with her daughters Baby June and Louise in search of success with their homespun vaudeville act. As times change, Rose is forced to accept the demise of vaudeville and the rise of burlesque, as well as her daughters’ quest for autonomy.

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Baby June (Isla Huggins-Barr) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

With a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show was suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. The musical was initially a project of producer David Merrick and actress Ethel Merman (who starred as the original Rose). Merrick had read a chapter of Lee’s memoirs in Harper’s Magazine and approached Lee to obtain the rights. Jerome Robbins was interested, and wanted Leland Hayward as co-producer; (Merman also wanted Hayward to produce her next show.) Merrick and Hayward approached Laurents to write the book. As he relates, Laurents initially was not interested until he saw that the story was one of parents living their children’s lives. Composers Irving Berlin and Cole Porter declined the project. Finally, Robbins asked Stephen Sondheim, who agreed to do it. Sondheim had previously worked with Robbins and Laurents on the musical West Side Story. However, Merman did not want an unknown composer, and wanted Jule Styne to write the music. Although Sondheim initially refused to write only the lyrics, he was persuaded by Oscar Hammerstein to accept the job.

Great Performances: Gypsy

Mazeppa (Louise Gold) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

The score features songs that have since become show standards, and helped launch the career of Sondheim. “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Some People,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “Together, Wherever We Go” and of course “Rose’s Turn” are among the musical highlights. Continue reading

Amazon Prime Video Is now the Exclusive Premium Subscription Streaming Home for Family-Favorite PBS KIDS Series

Multi-year agreement includes Prime member favorites such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, Odd Squad, Dinosaur Trainand more, plus new-to-Prime series including Nature Cat and Ready Jet Go!
PBS KIDS titles are available for Prime members to watch via the Amazon Video app on TVs, mobile devices or online; in addition to streaming, Prime members can also download PBS KIDS series on iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets and Fire tablets for offline viewing

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Multi-year agreement includes Prime member favorites such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, Odd Squad, Dinosaur Train and more, plus new-to-Prime series including Nature Cat and Ready Jet Go!

Amazon and PBS Distribution today announced that they have entered into a multi-year agreement that makes Amazon Prime Video the exclusive premium subscription streaming home for a broad collection of PBS KIDS series. Prime members in the U.S. can watch PBS KIDS episodes via the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Fire TV, mobile devices and online at www.amazon.com/primevideo. In addition to streaming, all episodes are also available to download for offline viewing on iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets and Fire tablets at no additional cost—meaning Prime members can enjoy PBS KIDS titles even when they don’t have an internet connection available. For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices, visit www.amazon.com/howtostream.

We are excited to announce this new deal with PBS, which will make Prime Video the exclusive premium subscription home for the great PBS KIDS series that our customers and their kids love,” said Brad Beale, Vice President of Worldwide Television Acquisition for Amazon. “From our award-winning Amazon Original Series to amazing licensed content from industry leaders like PBS KIDS, we’re committed to making Prime Video the best destination for kids and family programming that will both educate and entertain.” 

We are very pleased to be continuing our relationship with Amazon, increasing Prime Video members’ access to our trusted, educational programming,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Children’s Media & Education, PBS. “PBS KIDS shows have been developed with the needs of today’s children in mind and focus on fundamental academic areas such as literacy, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), in addition to collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity.”

Prime members can explore a variety of PBS KIDS content, including series that support social-emotional development and literacy skills, as well as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. The benefits of PBS KIDS series include:    

— Developing early social-emotional skills with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Arthur
— Opening new natural history and science worlds with 
Dinosaur Train, Wild Kratts, Nature Cat and Ready Jet Go!1
— Inspiring curiosity in mathematics with 
Odd Squad and Peg + Cat
— Enriching vocabulary and developing early literacy skills with 
Martha Speaks and WordGirl

Programs will premiere on PBS stations and then will be made available in Amazon Prime Video after a period of time. In addition to Prime Video, PBS KIDS titles will also be available with Amazon FreeTime Unlimited—a subscription service designed from the ground up for kids and their parents.

Ready Jet Go! will be available on Prime Video starting August 15, 2016

About Amazon Video
Amazon Video is a premium on-demand entertainment service that offers customers the greatest choice in what to watch, and how to watch it. Amazon Video is the only service that provides all of the following:

— Prime Video: Thousands of movies and TV episodes, including popular licensed content plus critically-acclaimed and award-winning Amazon Original Series and Movies from Amazon Studios like Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, kids series Tumble Leaf, and Love & Friendship, available for unlimited streaming as part of an Amazon Prime membership
— 
Add-on Subscriptions: Dozens of subscriptions to networks like SHOWTIME, STARZ and more, available to Amazon Prime members as add-ons to their membership
— 
Rent or Own: Hundreds of thousands of titles, including new-release movies and current TV shows available for on-demand rental or purchase for all Amazon customers
— 
Instant Access: Instantly watch anytime, anywhere through the Amazon Video app on TVs, mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire tablets, or online. For a list of all compatible devices visit www.amazon.com/howtostream.
— 
Premium Features: Top features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and mobile downloads for offline viewing

To sign-up for Prime or to find out more visit: http://www.amazon.com/prime.

PBS Rolls Out New Dramas, Arts, Performance, History and Election Coverage This Fall

PBS Confirms Premiere Date for HAMILTON’S AMERICA, a Behind-the-Scenes Special on the Making of the Tony Award-Winning Broadway Phenomenon and Centerpiece of PBS Arts Fall Festival

MASTERPIECE Offers New Seasons of “Poldark” and “Indian Summers”

Renée Fleming Performance to Headline PBS TCA Press Tour Sessions Also Featuring Josh Radnor, John Singleton and Aidan Turner, andTony Award-winner Sophie Okonedo

Election and History Specials Bring New Insights Into Past and Present

PBS’ fall 2016 primetime schedule is rich in politics, arts, drama and political history, covering a span from the American Revolution to the upcoming Presidential election. FRONTLINE’s acclaimed series “The Choice 2016”returns on September 27 with an in-depth look at this year’s presidential candidates, while THE CONTENDERS – 16 FOR ’16, debuting September 13, looks back at previous elections through the stories of former candidates. History and politics carry over into the arts with “Hamilton’s America” from GREAT PERFORMANCES, an intimate look at the making of the wildly successful Broadway production of Hamilton, winner of 11 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, which kicks off the sixth season of the PBS ARTS FALL FESTIVAL on October 21. Fall 2016 also brings the highly–anticipated return of “Poldark” on MASTERPIECE (date TBA), whose Season 2 continues the story of Captain Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) in a love story set in windswept Cornwall of the late 1700s. On September 6, PBS presents 9/11 INSIDE THEPENTAGON, a documentary that goes behind the scenes at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and airs in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the attack [VIEW CLIP]. On September 20, Ken Burns’s DEFYING THE NAZIS: THE SHARPS’ WAR tells the moving story of an American couple who rescued hundreds trying to escape the Nazis [VIEW CLIP].

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Image: (L) MASTERPIECE “Poldark,” Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark. © Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for MASTERPIECE. (R) GREAT PERFORMANCES “Hamilton’s America,” Phillipa Soo and Lin-Manuel Miranda. © Joan Marcus

As part of PBS’ commitment to education, the fall season will kick off with “SPOTLIGHT EDUCATION”, a week of primetime programming focused on the challenges facing America’s education system. Starting Monday, Sept.12, PBS will lead a national dialogue on-air, online and across communities, exploring ideas and solutions to improve outcomes for all of America’s youth. National broadcast programs include POV “All the Difference,” TED TALKS “Education Revolution,” [VIEW CLIPFRONTLINE “The Diploma Mill,(w.t.), NOVA “School of the Future,CRAFT IN AMERICA “Teachers” and TIME FOR SCHOOL. Funding for these programs is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), in partnership with PBS, as part of the public media initiative, “American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen.”

On October 25, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You” on AMERICAN MASTERS celebrates the life of the acclaimed, and often controversial, TV writer and producer. In BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE, which debuts in two-parts on November 15 and November 22, acclaimed scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the last 50 years of African-American history, looking at culture, politics and an ever-changing racial landscape to explore the remarkable progress, daunting setbacks and deep contradictions of black America. ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, a new feature film starring Martin Sheen and based on the iconic book by L.M. Montgomery, will air on Thanksgiving night, November 24.

As part of PBS’ partnership with NPR to cover the 2016 elections, the 2016 Campaign Connection site offers a round-up of election coverage from across public media. FRONTLINE’s The Choice 2016” and THE CONTENDERS – 16 FOR ’16 are part of the PBS ELECTION 2016 lineupwhich  brings together venerable news and public affairs shows with new programs and specials to offer viewers information and insights about the 2016 elections, the candidates and key issues for voters. PBS NEWSHOUR, WASHINGTON WEEK WITH GWEN IFILL and PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND will provide distinctive coverage of the ongoing national, state and local campaigns, as well as presidential and vice presidential debates. On election night, PBS NEWSHOUR will offer live coverage of national and local results. 

PBS’ fall programming truly stands out for its amazing variety, quality and diversity,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS’ Chief Programming Executive and General Manager. “Like the artists who populate our Friday primetime cultural programs this fall, PBS brings new perspectives to stories both well-known and untold. PBS viewers will discover everything from joyous musical creations to thoughtful approaches to presidential elections, learn from biographies of acclaimed Americans and find inspiration even in history’s darkest hours.

MASTERPIECE enhances PBS’ Sunday night drama block with the September 11 debut of CHURCHILL’S SECRET, with Emmy® Award-winner Michael Gambon as Winston Churchill in an all-star production based on a little-known incident in Churchill’s illustrious life. Following CHURCHILL’S SECRET on September 11 is INDIAN SUMMERS, set during the tumultuous period of British Colonialism in the 1930s.  Rachel Griffiths and Art Malik join Julie Walters, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, and Nikesh Patel for Season 2 of the picturesque series. POLDARK, starring Aidan Turner in a love story set in windswept Cornwall in the late 1700s, returns for a second highly-anticipated season (date TBA).

The PBS Arts Fall Festival kicks off on October 21, and continues with a number of new programs on Friday nights throughout the fall. Joining Hamilton’s America” from GREAT PERFORMANCES are Imelda Staunton as the iconic Momma Rose in a British revival of the classic American musical Gypsy” and Shakespeare Live! From the Royal Shakespeare Company.” LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER returns to the festival this year with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater” and pianist Lang Lang’s New York Rhapsody.” Full broadcast dates and several other programs that are part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival will be announced later. SOUNDBREAKING: STORIES FROM THE CUTTING EDGE OF RECORDED MUSIC, an eight-episode series that explores how cutting edge technology combines with human artistry to create modern recorded music, premieres on November 14. ART IN THE 21ST CENTURY, hosted by Claire Danes and produced by ART21 premieres a new season on September 16.

PBS will unveil many of these new shows at the Television Critics Association Press Tour July 28 and 29 with a range of stars from the worlds of arts and politics. Talent appearing at the TCA include Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Rufus Sewell and Daisy Goodwin for MASTERPIECE “Victoria”; Aidan Turner, Heida Reed and Eleanor Tomlinson for Season 2 of Poldark” on MASTERPIECE; Ken Burns for DEFYING THE NAZIS: THE SHARPS’ WAR; McKinley Belcher III, Gary Cole, Hannah James andJosh Radnor for MERCY STREET Season 2; Tom Sturridge,Sophie Okonedo and award-winning director Dominic Cooke forGREAT PERFORMANCES “The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses”; and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE. A panel introducing THE CONTENDERS – 16 FOR ’16 will feature series producer Carlos Watson (host of the weekly PBS talk show POINT TAKEN) and several of the politicians who appear in the series, which showcases the memorable presidential and vice presidential campaigns of Howard Dean, Michael Dukakis, Ralph Nader and John McCain, among othersPBS will also welcome Kenya Barris, creator and executive producer of black-ish, and Oscar-nominated filmmaker John Singleton on a panel for THE TALK.  PBS is delighted to feature a special performance by celebrated soprano and music ambassador Renée Fleming. The star of many PBS productions, Ms. Fleming most recently was featured in PBS’ National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, DC. Her next project, which she curated, will be the broadcast of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Bel Canto” on GREAT PERFORMANCES (airdate TBA).  Other talent and performers will be announced later.  

A chronological listing of Fall 2016 PBS programs follows, grouped by month and premiere date:

SEPTEMBER ON PBS:

POV “The Birth of Saké” – Go behind the scenes at Japan’s Yoshida Brewery, where a brotherhood of artisans, ranging from 20 to 70, spend six months in nearly monastic isolation as they follow an age-old process to create saké, the nation’s revered rice wine.Monday, September 5, 10-11 p.m. ET

9/11 INSIDE THE PENTAGON – On September 11, 2001 at 9:37 a.m. American Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon killing 184 people. What happened behind the walls of the Pentagon is a largely untold chapter in history. Fifteen years later, survivors and first responders shed light on that tragic day. Tuesday, September 6, 8-9 p.m. ET

AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS: THE NEW DECIDERS– Learn how Asian-American, black millennial, Arab-American, and Latino evangelical voters are exerting their growing strength and influence in this 2016 election special about power and politics, demographics and democracy.  Tuesday, September 6, 10-11 p.m. ET

CHURCHILL’S SECRET ON MASTERPIECE – Michael Gambon (The Singing DetectiveHarry Potter) stars as Winston Churchill in this dramatization of Churchill’s life-threatening stroke in the summer of 1953, when he was prime minister for the second time.  His illness and battle to recover were kept secret from the world. Lindsay Duncan (Birdman) plays Churchill’s wife Clementine, and Romola Garai (The Hour) is the remarkable young nurse who cared for him. Sunday, September 11, 8-10 pm ET

INDIAN SUMMERS ON MASTERPIECE  – It’s 1935 in Simla—an Indian retreat for British colonials set in the Himalayas. An assassination attempt on the Viceroy Lord Willingdon (Patrick Malahide), and the surprise arrival of Lord Hawthorne (James Fleet, Outlander), puts Ralph’s (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) future in the balance. Meanwhile, Cynthia’s (Julie Walters) Royal Simla Club plays host to an important royal guest, the Maharaja Maritpur (Art Malik, Upstairs Downstairs) and his elegant and mysterious mistress Sirene (Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters). Sundays, September 11-November 20, 10-11 p.m. ET Continue reading

THIRTEEN’s Nature, Raising the Dinosaur Giant, Hosted by Sir David Attenborough, Unearths a New Species in Patagonia, Wednesday, February 17, 2016, on PBS

Paleontologists Believe They Have Discovered The Largest Known Dinosaur And Reconstruct Its Skeleton Model

A few years ago in the Argentinean desert, a shepherd was searching for one of his lost sheep when he spotted the tip of a gigantic fossil bone sticking out of a rock. When the news reached paleontologists at the MEF Museum in Trelew, Argentina, they set up camp at the discovery site to examine it and look for more bones. By the end of the dig, they had uncovered more than 200 other huge bones. As the program reveals, these fossils came from seven dinosaurs, all belonging to a new species of giant plant-eating titanosaur whose name will be announced soon.

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Sir David Attenborough with a new giant titanosaur find – a thigh bone (femur) fossil. Paleontology Museum, Trelew, Argentina February 2015. © Robin Cox

When we learned that early signs at the dig site suggested this new species was the largest land animal ever known and experts were discovering such valuable information about the life of such giants millions of years ago, we were keenly interested,” says Fred Kaufman, executive producer of Nature.

Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry. Throughout its history, Nature has brought the natural world to millions of viewers and has been consistently among the most-watched primetime series on public television.

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Dig site of a new giant titanosaur find at La Fletcha Farm. Dig team from the Paleontology Museum in Trelew, Chubut Province, Argentina. Over 200 fossil bones found. April 2015. © William Hicklin

Sir David Attenborough, the film’s host and narrator, takes us through the twists and turns of the forensic investigation to find out more about this new animal. He talks to paleontologists studying the fossils, along with comparative anatomy experts, and with the help of 3D scanning, CGI visuals and animation, looks at what the bones reveal about the lives of these dinosaurs. He’s on location at the dig site and in the MEF Museum labs in Trelew, and present when a life-size skeleton of the dinosaur, built by a Canadian and Argentinean team of model makers, is completed. Raising the Dinosaur Giant airs Wednesday, February 17, 2016, at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). After the broadcast, the episode will be available for online streaming at pbs.org/nature.

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A new giant titanosaur find – a whole reconstructed skeleton. Paleontology Museum, Trelew, Argentina February 2015. © Robin Cox

As Attenborough explains, dinosaurs roamed what is now the rocky desert of Patagonia during the Cretaceous Period, around 145 to 66 million years ago. The largest of these were plant-eaters known as titanosaurs. Among the fossils unearthed during the two-year excavation were bones from the giant’s front and back legs, which are vital in determining its body mass or weight, and those from its spine, which helped establish its identity. Dr. Diego Pol, chief paleontologist on the project, was pleased that the femur (or thigh bone), found by the shepherd, was well-preserved because it was of great value to the scientific study. At 2.6 yards in length, it also turned out to be the largest dinosaur bone ever discovered. To protect the fossils, weighing more than half a ton or so, on their journey to the museum lab, the team had to apply plaster casts on each limb. A road was even built to transport them.

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Sir David Attenborough with a new giant titanosaur find – a thigh bone (femur) fossil. Paleontology Museum, Trelew, Argentina February 2015. © Robin Cox

According to Attenborough, scientists dated these fossils to precisely 101.6 million years old by examining the ash deposits in the rock layers surrounding them. He shares the team’s discoveries gleaned from meticulous forensic work and makes comparisons to the biology of living creatures. Among some early findings are that the giants are thought to have eaten plants such as fern, cycads and conifers without chewing them; it’s estimated that its heart weighed just over 500 pounds to pump blood around its massive body and is thought to have had four chambers; and this largest titanosaur measured 121 feet from head to tail and weighed just over 77 tons.

The film also follows Attenborough as he visits the largest known dinosaur nesting ground 500 miles north of the Patagonian dig site, where the remains of their eggshells can be seen scattered for miles. He discloses that hundreds of buried titanosaur eggs, originally laid on an old river plain, have also been found intact. The unhatched ones were preserved in mud when the river flooded, providing clues to what a baby titanosaur may have looked like.

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Dr. Jose Luis Carballido (right) and Dr. Diego Pol (left) measure the femur bone of a new giant titanosaur find at the dig site on La Fletcha Farm near Trelew, Chubut Province, Argentina, April 2015. © William Hicklin

Like so many people, young and old, I am fascinated by dinosaurs,” says Attenborough. The subsequent confirmation from Dr. Pol that they believe they had discovered the largest dinosaur ever known was like icing on the cake. But the research continues as the fossils contain many secrets yet to be revealed. Continue reading

Julie Andrews Returns as Host of “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2016,” Conducted by Mariss Jansons

Featuring the Vienna Boys’ Choir, On THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Friday, January 1 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. ET on PBS

The Vienna Philharmonic And Soloists Of The Vienna State Ballet Return For The Beloved Annual Tradition Against The Joyful Backdrop Of The Scenic City

Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns for the seventh time to host the festive annual New Year’s celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic, under the direction of Mariss Jansons, from Vienna’s MusikvereinFrom Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2016, featuring the infectious melodies of the Strauss Family and their contemporaries, airs on Great Performances, Friday, January 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) with an encore performance that evening at 7:30 p.m.

Vienna Philharmonic. Phot Credit: Terry Linke

Vienna Philharmonic. Photo Credit: Terry Linke

Maestro Jansons is returning for the third time to conduct the ever-popular concert. The Vienna Boys’ Choir and soloists of the Vienna State Ballet also return for the gala evening.

This is the largest worldwide event in classical music reaching millions of people annually through radio and television in over 80 countries. The Vienna Philharmonic’s traditional New Year’s program has showcased Viennese musical culture at the highest level, and since the first television broadcast in 1959, sent the world a New Year’s greeting in the spirit of hope, friendship and peace. (The telecast marks the 32nd broadcast of the event on PBS.)

The musical program is as follows:

Johann Strauss – “A Night in Venice” Overture

Eduard Strauss – Out of Control, Quick Polka

Josef Strauss – Music of the Spheres, Waltz

Johann Strauss – Singers Joy, French Polka (with Vienna Boys’ Choir)

Josef Strauss – On Holiday, Quick Polka (with Vienna Boys’ Choir)

Johann Strauss – “Princess Ninetta” – Entr’acte between Acts 2 and 3

Emil Waldteufel – España, Waltz (after Chabrier)

Johann Strauss, Sr. – Sighs Galop

Josef Strauss – The Dragonfly, Polka Mazur

Johann Strauss – Emperor Waltz

Johann Strauss – On the Hunt, Quick Polka

Johann Strauss – Double-time! Quick Polka –

Johann Strauss – On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Waltz

Johann Strauss, Sr. – Radetsky March

Julie Andrews’ role as host of these New Year’s broadcasts continues to be a cherished tradition for viewers and the beloved singer, actress, and author herself: “Vienna is a magical city…rich in culture and history. The glorious music it has brought to the world is a gift. I look forward to hosting another New Year’s celebration and sharing some of the incredible sights and sounds that are uniquely Vienna.

As is customary with these broadcasts, Ms. Andrews will travel from her home base in the Musikverein hall itself to visit multiple picturesque Vienna landmarks, including The Imperial Summer Palace of Schönbrunn, and The Kaiserloge in the Royal Enclosure at Austria’s Freudenau racetrack; The Winter Riding School in the Hofburg; the Imperial Carriage Museum; Vienna’s first public park, The Volksgarten; and the Volksgarten Club Disco (once Petro Corti’s Kaffeehaus where the Strausses performed); and the historic Tirolerhof farmhouse. Continue reading

Television/Online Streaming: Netflix Adds Seven New Original Series For Older Kids

New Offerings Bringing Its Global Original Line Up To More Than 35 Series For Kids Of All Ages

After recently announcing a slate of original series for the pre-school audience, Netflix Inc. will add seven new original series for older kids beginning this December. Building on its partnerships with globally respected brands, Netflix will launch all new stories from LEGO® Bionicle® and LEGO® Friends and the world’s first family is back and funnier than ever in DreamWorks Animation‘s all-new original family sitcom, Dawn of the Croods.

Netflix, Inc. Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Netflix, Inc.)

Netflix, Inc. Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Netflix, Inc.)

Netflix has a dedicated section for kids featuring dozens of original series for kids as well as TV shows and movies from great partners like PBS, Disney Channel, DreamWorks Animation, Mattel, Hasbro, Scholastic and Lego, all in a commercial free environment. The dedicated section for kids is available across a broad range of devices including PCs and Macs, iPads, game consoles, streaming devices and smart TVs. Members are provided a Kids profile upon sign up and can customize additional profiles for their children. The kids experience features a character bar where you can find a deep selection of great TV shows and movies featuring that character. Kids, parents and caregivers will also be able to scan through row after row of movies and TV shows organized by easy-to-understand genres like superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs and girl power, featuring clear and simple descriptions of each title.

Netflix is also broadening its offering for tweens and teens; the live action show Lost & Found Music Studios shows us how the next hit song could be just one heartbreak away, while fans of fast and funny will find the stop-motion, action-comedy of Buddy Thunderstruck right up their alley…or race-obsessed Greasepit in this case. The anime inspired Glitter Force joins the growing portfolio of strong girl characters on Netflix. And finally, Netflix is introducing its first ever original animated series produced in Latin America. Las Leyendas (The Legends) is based on a successful trilogy of children’s films from the Mexican animation studio, Anima Estudios.

Details on each show can be found below:

LEGO(R): Bionicle(R): The Journey to One Launching Exclusively On Netflix in 2016 (PRNewsFoto/Netflix)

LEGO(R): Bionicle(R): The Journey to One Launching Exclusively On Netflix in 2016 (PRNewsFoto/Netflix)

LEGO Bionicle: The Journey to One (1st Quarter 2016) – The LEGO Group will premiere the Netflix original series, LEGO Bionicle: The Journey to One, based on its popular LEGO Bionicle franchise and line of buildable action figures. The new storyline takes place on the mythical island of Okoto, where the forces of darkness are on the move and the evil Makuta is working to cast the world into darkness. The desperate island inhabitants enlist six heroes – called the Toa – to help save their beloved island. Only when the heroes are united, will they be able to battle the forces of evil, defeat Makuta and save Okoto. The four episode season will be available in all Netflix territories globally in early 2016. (LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Minifigure, BIONICLE are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2015 The LEGO Group.)

The Power of Friendship Launching Exclusively On Netflix in 2016 (PRNewsFoto/Netflix)

The Power of Friendship Launching Exclusively On Netflix in 2016 (PRNewsFoto/Netflix)

LEGO Friends: The Power of Friendship (2nd Quarter 2016) Another new Netflix original series for kids is LEGO Friends: The Power of Friendship featuring characters from the popular LEGO Friends line of construction toys. This series will follow the adventures of five best friends – Stephanie, Emma, Olivia, Mia and Andrea – around their hometown Heartlake City. From summer camp to the basketball court, saving their webcast or helping take care of a friend, the zany antics, adventures and missteps are made all the better by having their best friends by their side. The four episode season will premiere worldwide on Netflix in 2016. (LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Minifigure, BIONICLE are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2015 The LEGO Group.)

Buddy Thunderstruck – 2017 From American Greetings Entertainment with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Buddy Thunderstruck is an action-comedy, stop-motion extravaganza that follows the adventures of a semi-truck racing dog named Buddy and his albino ferret mechanic. It all goes down in race-obsessed Greasepit, a place chock full of larger-than-life characters and nitro-burning, gear-slamming, tire-squealing, fish-tailing good times. Buddy Thunderstruck will premiere worldwide exclusively on Netflix in 2017 with a 12 episode season.

Las Leyendas – 2017 – Las Leyendas (The Legends) will be the first animated Netflix original series to be produced in Latin America and is based on a successful trilogy of children’s films from the Mexican animation studio, Anima Estudios. Set in the 1800s, this whimsical adventure centers on Leo San Juan, a reluctant but heroic teen boy with the ability to communicate with ghosts and monsters. One day, Leo’s hometown vanishes into another dimension, prompting Leo to join forces with a phantasmagorical group of misfits in order to defeat Quetzalcoatl, an inter-dimensional entity who has sought to conquer the universe for centuries. Leo and his fantastical friends travel on a magic ship across time to the most famous and mystical places on Earth to fight off the evil forces that threaten the welfare of all. The first season of 13 episodes will premiere exclusively on Netflix, worldwide, in 2017. Continue reading

“Neuland”, Monday, Aug. 17 on POV

A Poignant Look at Young Immigrants Trying to Make A New Life In Switzerland

Meet the young students in Christian Zingg‘s integration class, who came to Switzerland by planes, trains and automobiles — and even by rubber boats. Separated from their families and in many cases traumatized by events in their home countries, these migrants from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Serbia and Venezuela already have long and arduous journeys behind them. Anne Thommen‘s Neuland (“New Territory”) follows the adolescents over two years as they struggle to learn a new language, prepare themselves for employment and reveal their innermost hopes and dreams. But as the end of school draws near, each student must face the same difficult question: Is there a place for me in this country?

School trip of the integration school. Photo Credit -  Gabriela Betschart

School trip of the integration school. ( Photo Credit: Gabriela Betschart)

Neuland follows Mr. Zingg’s adolescent charges as they struggle to learn a new language, prepare for employment and reveal their innermost hopes and dreams. But as the end of school draws near, each student must face the same difficult question: Is there a place for me in this country?

Basel, 2010. On the first day of his integration class, Mr. Zingg introduces himself to a disparate group of young people who have made their way to Switzerland from around the world. He has two years to help these fledglings learn to survive and forge new lives. Part teacher, part life coach, part surrogate father, he gets to know each one, building trust within the group and with each student, and helping them navigate bureaucratic hurdles, family troubles and the difficulties of being a stranger in a strange land.

Ehsanullah Habibi

Ehsanullah Habibi ( Photo Credit: Gabriela Betschart)

Hamidullah Hashimi and Ehsanullah Habibi at school.

Hamidullah Hashimi and Ehsanullah Habibi at school. ( Photo Credit: Gabriela Betschart)

They’re all escaping something — war, family problems, poverty. There is Ehsanullah Habibi, who has finally made it from Afghanistan to Switzerland after traveling for a year on borrowed money — a staggering $20,000. His anxious family waits back home for him to send the loan payments — or the lender will take their property. He calls his parents regularly on a pay phone. “It doesn’t look good in Afghanistan,” his father says. “Make a life for yourself.” “Pray for me,” Ehsanullah asks his dad.

Suffering from anxiety and homesickness, Ehsanullah begins to harm himself, and makes no attempt to hide the bandages on his arms. “We know how helpless we are with this,” a teacher tells Mr. Zingg, “but if that’s a message, a cry for help, then we must speak to him.

Nazlijie at work in a retirement home (Photo Credit: Gabriela Betschart)

Nazlijie Aliji at work in a retirement home (Photo Credit: Gabriela Betschart)

Brother and sister Ismail and Nazlije Aliji left their home country of Serbia after their mother died. Smart, eager and dedicated, Nazlije longs to be a primary school teacher, but she realizes her dream may be out of reach when she hears how many years of education that would require. “You’re talented; you can do it,” her friends at home tell her on Skype in a poignant moment. Mr. Zingg is more realistic when he meets with Nazlije and her uncle. “At the moment, that’s not the path for you,” he gently explains.

Ehsanullah wants to be a house painter, but is stunned to learn he must first pass a test in mathematics. “Take a deep breath,” Mr. Zingg smiles. “I’m 100 percent sure you can do that. . . . But in Switzerland every job has a theoretical, or school part. And that’s the part which will not be easy for you.

In preparation for “Taster Week,” when students seek apprenticeships, they practice applying for jobs by role-playing with Mr. Zingg. After multiple rejections from potential employers, Nazlije is finally accepted for a trial position as an aide at a geriatric residence; Ismail is hired in construction; and Ehsanullah lands a job in a food processing plant. But Ehsanullah’s biggest concern remains paying off the loan, the balance of which is due in less than six months. When Taster Week is over, he quits school and takes a job in a restaurant. Three weeks later, he’s back, but Mr. Zingg will only accept him if he signs a pledge that he will attend 100 percent of the remaining school days and work only on the weekends.

Christian Zingg, teacher of the integration class

Christian Zingg, teacher of the integration class ( Photo Credit: Gabriela Betschart)

In June, the students graduate, and with a bittersweet mixture of hugs and tears they express their gratitude to Mr. Zingg. He asks them all to come back and visit, expressing confidence that they are now on solid footing.

I got to know Mr. Zingg three years ago during a media-education film project with his class,” said filmmaker Thommen. “I was impressed by the trust the pupils placed in their teacher. When Mr. Zingg told me some of the unbelievable stories about the fates of his pupils, I knew I wanted to make a film about this. We decided to accompany him and his next class over the two years from the beginning through the end of their schooling.”

When we started filming, I was initially just curious about all of the young people who gathered in the schoolyard during breaks and the stories they had to tell. In retrospect, I admit that I had my ideas and prejudices about the various nationalities of the young people. But the longer the filming lasted, the less I was able to think in stereotypes and the more complex the individual stories and destinies became. What followed was the admission of my prejudices, and I started to see just the people, with all their contradictions and far from their homes. I genuinely hope that it will touch the viewers and sensitize them to the fates of these young migrants and others like them who are stranded on our shores every day.