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Great Performances Presents Star-Studded “Broadway’s Best” Lineup Featuring Performances by Leslie Odom, Jr.,Audra McDonald and More.

Bill Timoney, Billy Eugene Jones, Heather Alicia Simms, Leslie Odom Jr., Jay O. Sanders, Kara Young, Noah Robbins, Noah Pyzik, and Vanessa Bell Calloway in GREAT PERFORMANCES: PURLIE VICTORIOUS.

Broadway’s Best returns to Great Performances in May with a starry lineup of drama, comedy and concerts. Raising the curtain on the lineup is Hamlet from The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park starring Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood (“Slave Play”) in the title role with direction by Tony winner Kenny Leon, followed by Audra McDonald at the London Palladium who performs Broadway hits and more. The series also includes Broadway’s Purlie Victorious starring Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. also directed by Kenny Leon and concludes with Rodgers & Hammerstein 80th Anniversary, a starry concert honoring the best of two legendary musical theater figures.

Great Performances: Purlie Victorious

Premieres Friday, May 24 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), on and the PBS App.

This comedic play starring Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. tells the story of a Black preacher’s scheme to reclaim his inheritance and win back his church from a plantation owner. Written by Kennedy Center honoree Ossie Davis with direction by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon (“A Raisin in the Sun”), Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch was recorded live at the Music Box Theatre on January 24-26, 2024. Purlie Victorious originally opened on Broadway in 1961 and featured Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Alan Alda, Godfrey Cambridge, Sorrell Booke and Beah Richards. The play mirrors playwright Ossie Davis’ personal journey, growing up in racially segregated Georgia, and challenging oppressive white authority in the South and beyond.


Great Performances: Rodgers & Hammerstein 80th Anniversary

Premieres Friday, May 31 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), on and the PBS App

Beginning with their first collaboration on “Oklahoma!” in 1943, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II revolutionized Broadway by integrating music and dance with well-crafted storylines to create a cohesive new form of musical theater. With a string of blockbusters including “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” “Flower Drum Song” and “The Sound of Music,” the duo garnered 34 Tony Awards along with 15 Academy Awards for their film adaptations. Directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 80th Anniversary features an all-star cast at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane, including Michael Ball, Daniel Dae Kim, Maria Friedman, Audra McDonald, Julian Ovenden, Aaron Tveit, Marisha Wallace and Patrick Wilson, with additional surprise appearances by Rita Moreno and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Previous Great Performances this season include Hamlet and Audra McDonald at the London Palladium. Those can be watched on demand on the PBS App.

For more than 50 years 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. Showcasing a diverse range of artists from around the world, the series has earned 67 Emmy Awards and six Peabody Awards. The Great Performances website hosts exclusive videos, interviews, photos, full episodes and more. The series is produced by The WNET Group. Great Performances is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO.


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