This July 4th, America's national Independence Day celebration kicks off our country's 236th birthday, as A CAPITOL FOURTH on PBS welcomes a brand new host, Emmy Award-winning television personality Tom Bergeron. Hot off another winning season as host of the hit TV series, DANCING WITH THE STARS, Bergeron will lead an all-star cast in a patriotic evening of unrivaled musical performances, topped off by the greatest display of fireworks anywhere in the nation.
The multi award-winning event will feature acclaimed Broadway and television star Megan Hilty (SMASH) and four time Tony-nominated Broadway star Kelli O'Hara.
Hilty made her Broadway debut as Glinda in "Wicked" and went on to perform the role in both the national tour and in Los Angeles. After receiving rave reviews for her portrayal of Doralee Rhodes in Broadway's "9 to 5: The Musical," Hilty was honored with nominations for Lead Actress in a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Awards and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards.
O'Hara has been nominated for four Tony Awards: for her performance as Clara Johnson in The Light in the Piazza; for her performance as Babe Williams in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of The Pajama Game, where she starred alongside Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael McKean; for her performance as Nellie Forbush in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific and for her current role in Broadway's 'Nice Work If You Can Get It.'
Other guests on the special include singer-songwriter Javier Colon (winner of THE VOICE); R&B superstars Kool & The Gang; four time the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly; plus a tribute to Team USA honoring the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams (additional talent to be announced). Broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, A CAPITOL FOURTH will air live in HD onPBS Wednesday, July 4, 2012 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET (check local listings) before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, as well as to our troops serving around the world on the American Forces Network. The program can also be heard live in stereo over NPR member stations nationwide.
A CAPITOL FOURTH has truly becomeAmerica's favorite Independence Day celebration, and a cornerstone of PBS's annual programming line-up, as is evidenced by the ratings. During the 2010-2011 season, A CAPITOL FOURTH took the top prize, for the second consecutive year, as the number one rated program in primetime. With a 4.6 Nielsen rating A CAPITOL FOURTH reached over 11 million viewers.
"What an honor to be in the nation's capital for America's biggest birthday party," said Tom Bergeron. "Hosting A CAPITOL FOURTH enables me to celebrate two things I'm a big fan of - America and PBS!"
Added Executive Producer Jerry Colbert, "We are thrilled that Tom Bergeron will lead our nation in this star-spangled celebration. We are also humbled that the viewers have chosen this unique live television event as their favorite. With the eyes of America upon us, we join as one family to celebrate our freedoms, using the magical medium of television."