PBS is bound for Broadway this fall with a three-hour primetime documentary series that tracks the real life stories of America's top high school musical performers vying in the ultimate competition to find the nation's best young theater stars. It's non-stop drama when 60 talented teens - chosen from a nationwide casting call of over 50,000 students - descend on New York for an intensive week of "theatrical boot camp" and a shot at stage stardom and scholarships. The annual event, held each summer, is filmed for the first time ever in BROADWAY OR BUST, airing on consecutive Sunday nights, beginning tonight September 9 at 8:00-9:00 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).
Check out a special preview below!
Part competition, part performance and part non-fiction drama, BROADWAY OR BUST is the first-ever TV series to capture the behind-the-scenes coaching, grueling rehearsal schedule and highly charged atmosphere leading up to the National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA). Popularly known as "The Jimmy Awards" - named in honor of renowned Broadway theatre owner and producer James M. Nederlander - this national competition plunges the country's top teens into the eye of the theatrical storm for one intense, make-it-or-break-it week in New York City. The whirlwind competition culminates in an awards event on a Broadway stage in front of a live audience and a panel of high-profile judges.
To bring this series to PBS, producers WGBH Boston and Lance K. Shultz have teamed up with the National High School Musical Theater Awards. Created by Nederlander Alliances LLC (a division of The Nederlander Organization which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this fall) and Pittsburgh CLO, NHSMTA is produced by The Broadway Education Alliance in association with Pittsburgh CLO, New Studio on Broadway, NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama, and 30 top regional musical theater programs.
"The BROADWAY OR BUST series is the inspiring real story of real kids from around the country who have guts, talent and passion, and are willing to put themselves out there to follow their dreams in a national competition that is both grueling and uplifting, physically and emotionally," says WGBH Executive Producer of Lifestyle Productions, Laurie Donnelly. "Viewers will watch the 60 gifted teens as they struggle under pressure and rise to the challenge during a uniquely transformative process that whips them into shape in a matter of days. Many have incredible backstories about pursuing musical theater against the odds, and the strength and confidence it gives to them."