‘A Capitol Fourth’ on PBS Celebrates America’s 242nd Birthday

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It’s too darn hot in the nation’s capital, and this just may be the hottest A Capitol Fourth of all time. Every year, PBS puts on an amazing show for the Fourth of July on the West Lawn of The U.S. Capitol, attracting immense talent. It’s usually a mix of a Broadway shows, opera, country music and gospel. A little something for everyone.

This year’s show, which can be viewed on July 4th on PBS, includes performances by the legendary Chita Rivera, Jimmy Buffett and the Broadway cast of Escape to Margaritaville, The Beach Boys, Pentatonix, Andy Grammer, The Temptations, Luke Combs, Lauren Alaina, CeCe Winans, Joshua Bell, Renee Fleming, Kyla Jade, and the National Symphony Orchestra. In addition, the show is hosting a special tribute to our American Military Heroes and their Families and The Beach Boys will receive the National Artistic Achievement Award. Actor/ musician and new dad John Stamos is hosting as he did last year.

The heat at last night’s rehearsal contributed to a fast-paced schedule, which didn’t allow much time to talk to the talent. Performer Andy Grammer expressed delight being at the show and said he was particularly excited to see The Temptations. He shared that when he first started out playing music he was so grateful to anyone coming to his gigs and to be performing at A Capitol Fourth is a dream come true. Grammer sings with his guitar and a backup choir with the Capitol as a backdrop.

Crowd favorite The Temptations sing a melody of hits including, “Get Ready,” “The Way You Do,” and of course “My Girl.” Their voices blend seamlessly while expertly dancing in unison.

Jimmy Buffett introduces the Broadway cast of Escape to Margaritaville who perform two sets from the hit Broadway show. They are true professionals in how they danced and sang through the heat. The set looks like it would be in actual Margaritaville.

Renee Fleming soaringly sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to honor our men and women in uniform past and present.

The legendary Chita Rivera, who received the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre, introduces a tribute to American composer Leonard Bernstein on the 100th Anniversary of his birthday. The segment features composition “Tonight” from West Side Story with Joshua Bell and the National Symphony Orchestra.

In honor of the 40th Anniversary of Superman, John Williams will introduce by video message a performance by the NSO of Superman’s theme.

Unfortunately, due to the heat, not all the performances were reviewed, but from the morning previews, it is safe to say they hit this one out of the park again in a fitting tribute to America’s birthday. All the performances sounded tight and beautiful. How they perform in this heat is a testament to their professionalism and the “show must go on” mentality.

A Capitol Fourth Broadcasts live on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol tonight, July 4th from 8:00 to 9:30 PM.

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Marlene Hall
Marlene Hall grew up an army brat and has lived all over the world and in Washington, DC where she was constantly exposed to theater and music. Marlene graduated from the University of Virginia where she wrote for the Cavalier Daily interviewing musicians. Commissioned as an Air Force officer, she served 8 years. She now works as a realtor with eXp Realty. In addition, Marlene dabbles in improvisational comedy and has taken classes at the famed iO Theater in Chicago and the DC Improv. She is very active in the DC charity and social scene and contributes her time to veterans’ organizations Team Rubicon and Team Red, White, and Blue. She also was a supernumerary in the Washington National Opera’s Carmen with opera singer Denyce Graves. She loves the music and theater scene in DC and goes to as many concerts and shows as possible.

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