[06/27/06 - 12:00 AM]
NBC Celebrates the 80th Birthday of Legendary Entertainer Tony Bennett with "Tony Bennett: An American Classic"

[via press release from NBC]



Music Special Produced and Directed by Academy Award-Winning Director Rob Marshall

Confirmed Performances by Elton John, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, k.d. Lang and Special Appearances by Robert De Niro, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Crystal, With More to Be Announced

BURBANK -- June 27, 2006 -- In this one-hour exclusive television event, NBC salutes the 80th birthday of American legend Tony Bennett, an entertainer who is endeared by millions of fans the world over, with "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" airing this Fall. The special, sponsored by Target, showcases the Grammy and Emmy Award-winning singer along with a myriad of superstars who perform duets from his upcoming album TONY BENNETT: DUETS/An American Classic.

Filmed at the historical Los Angeles Theater, the special will be produced and directed by Academy Award winner Rob Marshall ("Chicago," "Memoirs of a Geisha") and will take viewers on a musical journey through the renowned singer's life. Set amongst the backdrop of different eras from Bennett's career, he performs his most memorable songs with popular artists. These performances include the best names in R&B, Rock, Pop and Jazz: "The Shadow of Your Smile" with Juanes; "Rags to Riches" with Elton John; "The Best Is Yet to Come" with Diana Krall; "For Once in My Life" with Stevie Wonder; "Because of You" with k.d. lang and trumpeter Chris Botti; "Just In Time" with Michael Bubl´┐Ż; and "Sing You Sinners" with John Legend. Additional participants to be announced.

Each musical performance will be shot as a short movie that recreates milestones in the entertainer's life. Viewers will return to 1949 in New York City's Greenwich Village -- where Bennett was discovered by Bob Hope -- and move along to the Columbia Recording Studios, where he recorded a string of hit singles in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Seamlessly woven throughout the special will also be narrative insights and introductions to each musical number from celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Crystal. As the special comes to a close, Bennett will take the stage alone to sing his signature number "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."

Also on board for the special is the Oscar-winning production team from "Chicago" including production designer John Myhre, costume designer Colleen Atwood, cinematographer Dion Beebe and choreographer John DeLuca.

Referred to as "the best singer in the business" by Frank Sinatra, Bennett has sold over 50 million albums worldwide, with over 100 recordings to his credit, and has garnered 13 Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bennett's forthcoming CD, TONY BENNETT: DUETS/An American Classic, will be released September 26 by RPM Records/Columbia Records. Recorded live in the studio, the CD features Bennett performing duets with an impressive list of singers and musicians, including those artists appearing in the NBC music special.

Rob Marshall ("Chicago," "Memoirs of a Geisha"), John DeLuca ("Terminal," "Chicago") and Danny Bennett ("Tony Bennett Live by Request: An All-Star Tribute") serve as executive producers with Marshall directing. The special is produced by RPM TV Productions Inc.

  [june 2006]  

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