is one of many in a long line of quality series' from PBS. After springing up from humble roots, 2012-2013 marked the show's 40th Anniversary, making it the longest running anthology program featuring the performing arts. From Broadway to Rock n' Roll, Great Performances
has successfully provided an opportunity for the American public to enjoy many different forms of music, dance and entertainment for the very first time.
Many sources, including the 25th anniversary publication titled "Great Performances: A Celebration", cite 1972 as the start of Great Performances
. Other sources indicate the show officially debuted with Maxim Gorky's "Enemies"
on January 23, 1974 - as Theater in America / Great Performances
. That 1973-74 season consisted of 11 new productions from Regional Theaters throughout the United states, plus repetitions of 8 plays produced by WNET in recent years. Some of these latter 8, like "The Rimers of Eldritch" and "Hogan's Goat", had previously aired on PBS under a different banner, such as NET Playhouse
and Playhouse New York
, (which debuted in 1972). Theater in America
began in 1973, and officially became part of Great Performances
the following year. All of this early innovation by Jac Venza and others appears to have contributed to the differing debut dates. Later, the Great Performances
umbrella would also branch out to include Dance in America
and Music in America
. Additionally, the Great Performances
umbrella also included Live From Lincoln Center
from it's debut in 1976 until the summer of 1988. Live From Lincoln Center
has it's own TVRage Listing
and has not been included here.
For historical accuracy, it will be noted throughout this guide whenever a production was aired under the Great Performances
umbrella, but with a different banner like Theater in America
, Dance in America
or Music in America