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John Lithgow hosts special on bicentennial of National Anthem

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 18, 2014

Lithgow is, of course, one of Akron's own. The official word: Acclaimed actor, musician and author John Lithgow will host Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem live from Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore on THIRTEEN'S Great Performances at 8 p.m. ET on PBS. (Check local listings.)

The television event, to be co-hosted by multi-platinum recording artist and actress Jordin Sparks, is a highlight of Star-Spangled Spectacular, a weeklong celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem.

Also featured are performances by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and accomplished singer Kristin Chenoweth; Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge; celebrated mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves-Montgomery; Grammy Award-winning country group Little Big Town; vocal sensations Pentatonix; legendary singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson; Grammy Award-winning Country Music Hall of Fame member Kenny Rogers; internationally acclaimed off-Broadway show STOMP; multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning band Train; the Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Marin Alsop; and more to be announced soon. The patriotic special will feature a diverse star-studded line up of entertainers paying tribute to our nation's ideals in a thrilling and inspiring concert at the Pier Six Pavilion. The Baltimore harbor, replete with tall ships and naval vessels will serve as a stunning backdrop. The program will also include ceremonial activities at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, historical highlights and an extraordinary fireworks crescendo.

Two hundred years ago, Francis Scott Key, a Maryland-born attorney, was inspired to write the words to what would become the United States' national anthem. In 2012, Star-Spangled 200 and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission began a multi-year commemoration of this legacy which will culminate with Star-Spangled Spectacular, a weeklong festival taking place on September 10-16, 2014. Within this festival, Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem will take place. The festival will include tall ships, Navy gray hulls, a performance by the Blue Angels, landside festivities, and this special television program to honor the national anthem.

Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial Of Our National Anthem is a production of Maryland Public Television, dick clark productions (dcp) and THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET with assistance from the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and Star-Spangled 200, Inc. Executive Producer David Horn, "Great Performances"; Producer/Director Paul Miller; Assaf Blecher, Vice President of Programming and Development for dick clark productions; and Steven J. Schupak, Maryland Public Television.

For Great Performances, Bill O'Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

Major corporate support for Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of Our National Anthem is provided by AT&T, Papa John's Pizza, and Constellation Energy.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Agnes Varis Trust, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Harold and Elise Danino Hirshberg, and PBS. 

Visit Great Performances Online at  http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/ for additional information about this and other programs.
 

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