The Stars On Stage From Westport Country Playhouse concert series on PBS wraps up January 21 with an evening of songs and stories from Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon. The broadcast begins at 9 PM ET; check local listings.
Filmed live at Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut in fall of 2021, the concert series also featured Gavin Creel and Shoshana Bean. Each aired on PBS consecutive Fridays in January, starting with Creel, which aired January 7, then Bean on January 14, and Dixon on January 21 at 9 PM ET. All concerts are also available to stream via the PBS Video app and on PBS.org.
Dixon has been seen on Broadway stages in Hamilton and Motown the Musical, and garnered Tony nominations for his performances in The Color Purple and Shuffle Along. His concert features songs from some of his favorite entertainers like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Donny Hathaway, and songs from Broadway, including "I'll Cover You" from Rent, in which he played Collins in the live televised special for NBC. Dixon is joined onstage with guest vocalists Crystal Monee Hall, Kristina Nicole Miller, and Anastasia Talley. The concert is directed by Annette Jolles with music direction by Michael O. Mitchell .
Playbill talked with Dixon about how he created the solo concert for the Westport Country Playhouse series.
How do you approach the creation of a solo concert? Do you start with songs, themes, stories?
Dixon: I start with songs. Songs I like and songs I think folks might like to hear me sing. Then I look for themes that connect the songs with each other and where I am in my life at the time.
Is there a song in this show that is particularly special to you and can you share why?
Yes, I do a version of Sondheim’s “Being Alive” that I’m particularly fond of. I did not know the show but when I discovered the song, I found it paints such a vivid picture of love's many shades, anxieties, longings, and excitements.
What’s one of your favorite moments from your Stars on Stage concert for PBS?
My favorite moment of the concert is the penultimate song, “I’ll Cover You.” It’s one of the most full moments of the concert, with band, backgrounds and me in full regalia.
Since these broadcasts are coming around the New Year let's take a look back: Tell us your very first memory of being onstage.
The Junior High performed a Shakespeare play every year at my elementary school and, when I was in first grade, they did A Comedy of Errors. To flesh the play out, our teacher created some comedic market scenes (no lines) starring a mischievous young boy. That was my (silent) stage debut.
And, a look forward: Do you have a dream role, or a dream collaboration, or a song that’s yet unsung?
Yup. Valjean is the bucket list role that is still unrealized. I’d also like to play Harold Hill in a televised version of The Music Man on July 4th. Just two small requests of the universe :)