I saw an advance screening of the opening show of the third season of "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook" which airs Friday on CPTV -- and it's a must-see for any Broadway aficionado.
Composer Stephen Sondheim and multiple Tony Award-winner Angela Lansbury are featured in the episode, the first oif the three-part series and what they both have to say -- and in Lansbury's case, seeing herself in "Gypsy" -- are fascinating and touching.
Season Three, produced by Connecticut resident Amber Edwards, finds Feinstein "exploring the enduring popularity of show tunes, the pas de deux between music and choreography on stage and the big screen, and the indelible impact that radio – in its star-making heyday – had on the American musical canon."
There's a little bit too much of Feinstein performing for my taste, but his work as the best American music treasure hunter is unmatched and his fiunds and interviews are terrific.
In the series he also reminisces with Liza Minnelli about dance legends Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, hosts superstar violinist Joshua Bell on his public radio show, and visits some of the country’s most extraordinary collections of musical recordings and ephemera.
In the opener, “Show Tunes” – Sondheim reveals the composers he most admires and shows Feinstein some rare home movie footage of the original Broadway production of "Follies." Tony Award-winner Christine Ebersole performs. And Lansbury reflects on her Broadway career, from "Mame" to "Gypsy" to"Sweeney Todd"
Feinstein also discusses his personal relationship with Ira Gershwin (also the topic of his recent book).
The Season 3 DVD set of the series is available at shopPBS.org or 1-800-Play-PBS. The set includes three one-hour episodes and more than 90 minutes of bonus material.
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