The Nouveau Productions and PBS are presenting True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs for Pride Month to celebrate the stories and music that make us who we are.
The new special features Tony, Grammy and Emmy Winning Hadestown star André De Shields performing “The Colors of My Life” from Barnum, drag artists Peppermint, Alexis Michelle and Jujubee performing “(A Little More) Mascara” from La Cage Aux Folles, trans opera singer Breanna Sinclairé singing “Somewhere” from West Side Story, and more.
Offering a unique look at the history of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States, the special shares real-life stories of hope, resilience and triumph from people across the country, artistically represented through thematically relevant music. Exploring the personal journeys of remarkable individuals, the program connects these heartfelt stories with the history of the LGBTQ+ movement.
True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs is part of special programming premiering on PBS stations on June 4, 2022 (check local listings). It will also be available for free streaming on PBS.org and the PBS Video App. Click here to watch the concert.
Hosted by Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider, True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs also includes musical performances by: Indigo Girls (“Closer to Fine”); country-pop singer Billy Gilman (“For Our World”); indie-pop singer, songwriter Morgxn (“Wonder”); celebrated Christian singer Trey Pearson (“Hey Jesus”); and Glee sensation Chris Colfer.
All performers are joined by The American Pops Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Luke Frazier. In addition, the special features interviews with former NBA player Jason Collins and Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning actress and activist Cynthia Nixon and other individuals sharing their inspiring real-life stories.
APO was founded in 2015 with a mission to breathe new life into orchestral pops programming and inspire diverse audiences to discover the wealth of the material in the Great American Songbook in dynamic new ways. Seeing an opportunity to challenge the status-quo of the repertoire performed by orchestras, founder and music director, Luke Frazier, created The American Pops with the intent of breaking the mold of the traditional pops orchestra.
This new distinctly “American” orchestra brings together versatile musicians and reimagined programming focused around the Great American Songbook, presenting it with an approachable, fresh spin to engage diverse audiences. Through non-traditional orchestral settings, APO aims to deliver popular American classics to those who already know and love them, while also introducing these timeless pieces to younger generations in approachable settings.
Lia Chang is a Chinese-American actor, a multi-media content producer, an award-winning filmmaker, and a photo activist and documentarian, who lifts up and amplifies BIPOC communities and artists and the institutions that support them. She is the host of a new arts and entertainment show, Backstage Pass with Lia Chang. Lia moved to New York from her home in San Francisco when she was 17 years of age and made her stage debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet. She spent many years working extensively Off-Broadway, including Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago. Her film work includes Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. The decades of being viewed by others through the narrow lens of ‘Asian actor’ in the industry brought Lia to a turning point, and she picked up her camera, determined to create awareness by documenting the work and the lives of her BIPOC colleagues, resulting in the creation of thousands of photographs and pieces of video. Her photo archives are housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room under ‘Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011’ and in the ‘Lia Chang Photography Collection’ in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library. Lia’s awards include the 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award and the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media and the 2022 Prospect Muse Award. She is also an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate, a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age, a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media, and a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. More recently, Lia co-founded Bev’s Girl Films, which makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. She executive produced and starred in the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). Lia is honored to have worked with Prospect Theater Company on a shared mission of lifting up BIPOC theater artists and creating a more diverse and inclusive musical theater canon. A retrospective of Lia’s photographs will be on view at the Museum of the City of New York later this year, documenting her BIPOC colleagues and contemporaries in the performing arts, which will include photos of Prospect Theater Company artists at work.