Six-part series features new host Michael Feinstein and musical performances by the best of Broadway and beyond, recorded for public television at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey;
Series will air across New York-Metro area on Thirteen and WLIW21 this spring
January 18, 2017 – NEWARK, NJ – NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, announced the fourth season of the award-winning music series, American Songbook at NJPAC, hosted for the first time by multi-platinum-selling entertainer Michael Feinstein, will premiere on Wednesday, January 25th on NJTV (check local listings). Watch a preview of the premiere episode here. The six-part series, now entitled American Songbook at NJPAC Hosted by Michael Feinstein, will also air on THIRTEEN and WLIW21 in the spring.
American Songbook at NJPAC Hosted by Michael Feinstein, co-produced with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), was taped before a live audience at NJPAC’s Victoria Theater. This season features performances by Tony award-winning Broadway baritone Brian Stokes Mitchell (Kiss Me, Kate); Grammy Award winning, internationally acclaimed violin soloist, recording artist and conductor Joshua Bell; Tony-winning Broadway star Billy Porter (Kinky Boots); Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer; critically-acclaimed Broadway performer Rachel York (Victor/ Victoria); Tony-nominated Broadway star Andrea McArdle (original lead in Annie on Broadway); award-winning Broadway dancer Jared Grimes (After Midnight); Tony-award winning actress Lillias White (The Life, Dream Girls), Capitol recording artist José James and soprano Larisa Martínez. Also performing in several of the programs are Great American Songbook Youth Ambassadors Lucas DeBard, Julia Goodwin, Brighton Thomas and Nick Ziobro, from Feinstein’s Indiana-based Songbook Academy®.
“We strive to make American Songbook at NJPAC better every season,” said John Servidio, General Manager of NJTV. “Adding someone of Michael Feinstein’s caliber as host and surrounding him with this line-up of talent will take the series to a new, memorable level.”
“Besides being our country’s leading ambassador of American popular song, Michael Feinstein is also the music’s most literate and engaging historian,” said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC. “This new season of Songbook will feature Michael as singer, pianist, raconteur and moderator. I can’t wait!”
Performances are paired with insider discussion between Feinstein and the artists, offering an intimate look into the music they perform and their lives on and off the stage. This season also includes two “Best of American Songbook at NJPAC” episodes, one featuring love songs to air just before Valentine’s Day and one paying homage to Broadway composers from Berlin to Sondheim and beyond.
The 2017 American Songbook at NJPAC Hosted by Michael Feinstein series episodes descriptions are as follows:
Episode 1: Wednesday, 1/25/17 at 8pm on NJTV
Michael Feinstein welcomes Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ana Gasteyer and Songbook Youth Ambassador Lucas DeBard to NJPAC for stimulating conversation and performances. Highlights include dynamic renditions of “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “What a Wonderful World” and “Hello, Dolly!”.
Episode 2: Wednesday, 2/1/17 at 8pm on NJTV
Michael Feinstein is joined by Josè James, Lillias White and Songbook Youth Ambassador Nick Ziobro at NJPAC for lively conversation and exciting renditions of “God Bless The Child”, “I Wanna Be Loved”, “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “For Once in My Life”.
Episode 3: Wednesday, 2/8/17 at 8pm on NJTV (Salute to Love Songs)
Michael Feinstein hosts an all-star salute to the world’s greatest love songs. Marilyn Maye, Maureen McGovern, Joshua Bell, Valerie Simpson, Nellie McKay, Tom Wopat, Jessie Mueller, Rebecca Luker & more perform some of the world’s most beloved songs.
Episode 4: Wednesday, 2/15/17 at 8pm on NJTV
Michael Feinstein shares the stage with Joshua Bell, Billy Porter, Larisa Martìnez, and Songbook Youth Ambassador Brighton Thomas for spirited conversation and unique renditions of “Somewhere”, “Edelweiss”, “New York, New York” and “My Romance”.
Episode 5: Wednesday, 2/22/17 at 8pm on NJTV
Michael Feinstein entertains and converses with Andrea McArdle, Jared Grimes, Rachel York and Songbook Youth Ambassador Julia Goodwin. Highlights include memorable renditions of “Tomorrow”, “Being Alive”, “Without a Song” and “I Get a Kick Out of You”.
Episode 6: Wednesday, 3/1/17 at 8pm on NJTV (Salute to Broadway Composers)
Michael Feinstein hosts an all-star salute to great Broadway composers Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George & Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman. Billy Porter and others perform.
American Songbook at NJPAC Hosted by Michael Feinstein is a production of New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Public Media NJ, Inc. For Public Media, NJ (NJTV) John Servidio is the Executive in Charge of Production; Mike Kostel is the series executive producer, Judy Moy is broadcast producer and David Stern is director and Annette Jolles is associate director.
For NJPAC, John Schreiber and David Rodriguez are series executive producers.
For Nouveau Productions, Robert C. Pullen, Terrence Flannery and Jim Morey are producers.
The series, which launched in 2013, received accolades in its first three seasons. Most recently, the series was nominated for two 2016 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards. Its first season was awarded a New York State Broadcasters Association award for Outstanding Locally Produced Television Program. Clips from this season and previous season episodes can be viewed online at here:.
The American Songbook at NJPAC series follows on the success of several other television events from NJPAC, including One-on-One at NJPAC with Steve Adubato, BET’s Black Girls Rock! Awards, HBO’s special Ghetto Klown with John Leguizamo, and NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
Major support for the American Songbook at NJPAC Hosted by Michael Feinstein television series is provided by Investors Bank. Additional funding for NJPAC’s American Songbook has been provided through the generous support of The Joan and Allen Bildner Family Fund, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and the David S. Steiner and Sylvia Steiner Charitable Trust.
About Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein has built a dazzling career over the last three decades bringing the music of the Great American Songbook to the world. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations to his Emmy nominated PBS-TV specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe – in addition to his appearances at iconic venues such as The White House, Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House – his work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.
In 2007, he founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Songbook Academy. This summer intensive open to students from across the country has produced graduates who have gone on to record acclaimed albums and appear on television programs such as NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage. The most recent album from his multi-platinum recording career is A Michael Feinstein Christmas from Concord Records.
NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to all 21 counties in New Jersey and its tri-state neighbors. NJTV presents acclaimed PBS series such as Nature, Charlie Rose and BBC World News America and children’s programs with diverse local programs including American Songbook at NJPAC, On the Record with Michael Aron, Driving Jersey, NJDocs, Due Process, One-on-One with Steve Adubato, Classroom Close-Up NJ and State of the Arts. The network’s flagship news broadcast, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams, features stories from across the Garden State.
NJTV, headquartered at the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark with additional studios at the Trenton State House and New Jersey City University as well as university content bureaus across the state, strives to engage the community and increase public awareness of critical local issues. Its most recent community outreach initiative, Healthy NJ: News Jersey’s Drug Addiction Crisis, combines community forums, news reporting and a resource-driven website to help combat the state’s heroin and opioid overdose crisis. The NJTV website offers online programs and free digital resources for educators. NJTV is comprised of WNJN, WNJS, WNJB, and WNJT, which collectively broadcast throughout NJ. NJTV is operated under an agreement with the state of New Jersey by Public Media NJ, Inc. (PMNJ), a non-profit affiliate of WNET, parent company of award-winning New York public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21. Network sponsorships and partnerships are available.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted nearly 10 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.