Great Performances

Paula Zahn Interviews Anna Deavere Smith

Paula Zahn interviews Anna Deavere Smith about her play Let Me Down Easy. They discuss the development of the play in the 1990s to the present, how the politics of national health care organically became part of the piece, and Smith's favorite portrayals.

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GREAT PERFORMANCES, the longest-running performing arts anthology on television, continues to feature the best in the performing arts.
Upcoming Air Dates
  • #4002 — Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of Our National Anthem |
    Sunday, Jul 2 at 2pm TPT LIFE
  • #1107 — Idomeneo |
    New Sunday, Jul 23 at 12:30pm TPT LIFE
  • #3813 — Pavarotti: A Voice for the Ages |
    Monday, Aug 7 at 8pm TPT LIFE
  • #3813 — Pavarotti: A Voice for the Ages |
    Tuesday, Aug 8 at 2am TPT LIFE
  • #1107 — Idomeneo
    New Sunday, Jul 23 at 12:30pm TPT LIFE
  • #3813 — Pavarotti: A Voice for the Ages
    Like Enrico Caruso before him, Luciano Pavarotti extended his presence far beyond the limits of Italian opera. Quickly establishing his trademark rich sound as the greatest male operatic voice of the 20th century, he expanded his reach to stadium concerts and pop collaborations which brought him fame beyond measure. Audiences adored his larger than life personality, childlike charm, generous figure, and happy go lucky style. This program celebrates the 50th anniversary since his career debut in Amsterdam, Vienna, Zurich and finally London where he substituted for the ailing Giuseppe di Stefano as Rodolfo in La Boheme. Even today, it is his powerful sound with its natural grace and brilliant color which still leads many to consider him the world's greatest voice. It is Pavarotti who brought opera to the masses and made football fans worldwide fall in love with "Nessun dorma." This program includes that hit and other beloved arias from La Boheme, Rigoletto and Aida; Neapolitan songs in arrangements by Henry Mancini including "Mamma" and "O Sole Mio"; favorite sacred songs like "Ave Maria" and "O Holy Night"; as well as popular duets with Bono, Sting and Eric Clapton.
    Monday, Aug 7 at 8pm TPT LIFE
    Tuesday, Aug 8 at 2am TPT LIFE
  • #4002 — Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of Our National Anthem
    The valiant defense of Fort McHenry on the night of September 13, 1814, during the Battle of Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." On the occasion of the anthem's 200th birthday, John Lithgow hosts a celebration of that event live from Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore. Co-hosted by recording artist and actress Jordin Sparks, the special also features performances by actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth; singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge; mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves-Montgomery; country group Little Big Town; a cappella group Pentatonix; singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson; singer Kenny Rogers; rock band Train; the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Marin Alsop. The Baltimore harbor, replete with tall ships and naval vessels, serves as a stunning backdrop. The patriotic special will also include ceremonial activities at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, historical highlights and an extraordinary fireworks crescendo.
    Sunday, Jul 2 at 2pm TPT LIFE


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