Michael Feinstein's American Songbook
This series is a documentary-style road trip and cultural primer with Michael Feinstein as the leader of an expedition through the history of American popular song. Viewers follow him both on stage and backstage, hear personal stories about the songwriters and entertainers he has known over a 30-year career, travel to flea markets, dig through dusty storage units, and swap treasures with fellow collectors. Rare archival audio and film footage combine to reveal the social and historical forces behind the music that helped shape the style, attitude, and self-image of America for more than a century. Filled with generous portions of live performance, this series offers both an intimate portrait of a unique entertainer, and a history of 20th century pop culture.
Michael Feinstein's American Songbook Previous Broadcasts
Let's Dance (Episode #302H)
KQED Plus: Sun, Apr 14, 2013 -- 7:00 PM
Fred Astaire was the favorite singer of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and the Gershwins. Why was this dancer so beloved by these composers? That question launches Feinstein into an exploration of the marriage of music and choreography, unearthing rare home movies of Astaire rehearsing on set, and never-before-seen footage of Gene Kelly's Broadway debut in the original Pal Joey. Liza Minnelli, who knew both Astaire and Kelly, dispatches an amazing deconstruction of a dance number from the musical perspective. Feinstein explores the popularity of ballroom dance in America and performs "Singin' in the Rain" and "Let's Dance."
- KQED Plus: Mon, Apr 15, 2013 -- 1:00 AM
Show Tunes (Episode #301H)
KQED Plus: Sun, Apr 7, 2013 -- 7:00 PM
Stephen Sondheim, Angela Lansbury and Christine Ebersole appear in this episode about great American musicals. Sondheim reveals the composers he most admires and shows Feinstein some rare home movie footage of the original Broadway production of the classic Follies. Tony Award-winner Ebersole gives a tour de force performance of some of the greatest show tunes of all time, and Lansbury reflects on her Broadway career, from Mame to Sweeney Todd and more. (Michael also has a surprise for Angela.) Feinstein discusses his personal relationship with Ira Gershwin and performs the classic "Lullaby of Broadway" and "Let Me Entertain You."
- KQED Plus: Mon, Apr 8, 2013 -- 1:00 AM