Top Stars Sign On For Bennett TV Special
Tony Bennett will celebrate his 80th birthday in style -- with a star-studded music special on NBC to be directed and executive produced by "Chicago" helmer Rob Marshall.Tony Bennett will celebrate his 80th birthday in style -- with a star-studded music special on NBC to be directed and executive produced by "Chicago" helmer Rob Marshall.
"Tony Bennett: An American Classic" is based on Bennett's upcoming album featuring duets with some of the music business' biggest names. A number of them -- including Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, Michael Buble, John Legend, Juanes, trumpeter Chris Botti and violinist Pinchas Zukerman -- will perform with Bennett on the show.
Also set to appear on the hour-long program are Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was an Oscar winner for her role in "Chicago." The program has begun filming at the historic Los Angeles Theatre and will air in the fall in conjunction with the Sept. 26 release of Bennett's new album, "Duets -- An American Classic."
Additionally, Marshall is bringing on board his team of Oscar-winning production designer John Myhre, Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood, Oscar-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe and choreographer John DeLuca.
Marshall will executive produce "American Classic" with Bennett's son/manager Danny Bennett and DeLuca. "It's a tribute and celebration to Tony," Danny Bennett said of the special, whose genre he describes as a "documusical," a musical journey through his father's life.
Each musical performance will be shot as a short movie about a milestone in the entertainer's career, with sets recreating such pivotal venues as the Greenwich Village club where Bennett was discovered by Bob Hope in 1949; Carnegie Hall, where he held one of his most successful concerts in 1962; and the Sahara Hotel and Casino, where he performed in the late '70s.
Zeta-Jones, De Niro and Crystal will be setting the stage for the performances with insights about Bennett's life during the time period highlighted by the song. At the end of the special, Bennett will take the stage alone to sing his signature number, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."