JLCO To Perform ‘Sesame Street’ Musical Special This Month

Courtesy: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis

The Jazz a Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will pay tribute to Sesame Street this month.

Jazz at Lincoln Center PresentsA Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration is scheduled to broadcast at 9 p.m. ET on Oct. 30 on PBS stations nationwide.  The hour-long presentation was recorded in front of a sold-out audience at the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater.

The band performed a variety of classic Sesame Street songs, such as ‘Rubber Duckie,’ ‘I Don’t Want To Live on the Moon,’ and ‘People in your Neighborhood’ during the concert.  Famous Sesame Street residents, such as Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo, and the duo of Bert & Ernie joined the band to perform the concert’s extensive set list.

The forthcoming concert broadcast will air in collaboration with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street.

More information on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s upcoming concert is available along with all of the group’s news at:

 

Websitehttp://jazz.org

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More information on Sesame Street is available along with all of the series’ latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.sesamestreet.org

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SesameStreet

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sesamestreet

 

 

More information on Sesame Workshop is available online now at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.sesameworkshop.org

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Twitterhttp://twitter.com/sesameworkshop

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Endeavour’ Reaches A Low Point In Its Seventh Season

Courtesy: itv/PBS Distribution/PBS

British television company itv’s hit crime drama Endeavour will have an eight season. Star Shaun Evans, who portrays the series’ eponymous character, confirmed the information late last month after the series’ seventh season officially wrapped on PBS and released domestically to DVD and Blu-ray.  When Season Eight starts recording is anyone’s guess.  While audiences await the premiere of Season Eight, they do have Season Seven to take in – as noted – on DVD and Blu-ray.  The show’s seventh season was an interesting point in the series’ run.  That is due in part to its writing.  That item will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies Season Seven in its home release is just as important to note in examining the season as the writing, so it will be discussed a little later.  Considering the content featured in this latest season, the set’s average price point is also of note.  It will be examined later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make this latest season and its home release a key moment in the history of Endeavour.

The recently wrapped seventh season of itv’s hit crime drama Endeavour is an intriguing presentation.  That is due in part to its writing.  Unlike the series’ first six seasons, this season was presented in a serial fashion, according to Evans during a recent interview.  He pointed out that (thankfully) it is an approach that will not be taken again in the series’ eighth season.  The story opens and closes with Endeavour Morse attending the opera in Venice.  It is there that he first meets his new love interest Violetta (Stephanie Leonidas – Killjoys, Defiance, American Gothic).  Upon meeting Violetta, Morse becomes embroiled in what he thinks is an affair with a married woman, but is much more than that, as he eventually learns.  This critic will not reveal the end result of the duo’s tryst, but that the writers thought this plot element was needed is troubling.  Even his relationship issues in previous seasons with Joan Thursday (Sara Vickers – Watchmen, Privates, Shetland) were handled better than those with Violetta.  This latest romance story is just so contrived and overly commonplace for stories.  It felt so forced.  The revelation made in the season finale – which also is left here for audiences to discover for themselves – feels just as contrived as the romance subplot itself.  That revelation ties into the season’s overarching story about the homicides, which leads to even more contrivance because of how many people were involved in the crimes.  One can’t help but do a face palm as Endeavour traces all of the clues, which lead back to the ringmaster.

While the writing in general clearly caused its own share of problems this season, it did not doom the season.  Audiences will remain engaged throughout as they watch the working and personal relationship between Morse and Thursday become strained.  That strain is caused by the duo’s own distinct personalities and the related fashion in which they investigate the cases.  The only matter there is that considering how Season Seven ended, audiences were left wondering if Thursday and Morse had mended their proverbial fences.  At one point, the pair clashed, with Morse stating that he would put in for a transfer once the cases were solved.  However, it is unknown if that happened in the last scene of the season finale.  Thursday did search out Morse in that final episodes closing minutes, and he did find him.  However, audiences are still left hanging once Thursday locates Morse.  So considering that, there is a clear need for an eighth season if only for the purpose of tying up that loose end.

The only real strong writing point in this season comes in the season’s second episode, “Raga.”  It presents the rising tensions between the British community and Indian immigrants to Great Britain in the 1970s.  Now whether this matter is historically accurate is worth investigating.  That aside, it is a matter that echoes what is happening around the world today, with tensions rising everywhere against minority groups.  That makes suspension of disbelief relatively easy, at least until the killer reveals his motivation for committing his crime.  That revelation is a bit contrived in its own right.    Between this matter, the issue raised by the loose end between Morse and Thursday’s relationship, and the forgettable story involving Morse and Violetta, the writing this season just suffered all the way around.  One can only hope that the show’s writers will make up for those issues in the series’ eighth season.

The writing featured in the seventh season of Endeavour presents quite the quandary for the series, as it does something that has never been done.  Hopefully it will not be repeated in Season Eight, either.  It is just one of the concerns raised in this season, too.  The bonus features, or really lack thereof, poses its own problems.  Accompanying the episodes in this season is a series of vignettes in which various topics, such as the costuming and makeup, Morse’s relationship with Thursday, and Evans once again taking on a directorial role in the series are discussed.  Each discussion is very brief, running no more than a couple of minutes at best.  Little is really mentioned in the extra focus on Morse and Thursday that was not already known from the season’s writing.  Even the opening discussion about Morse’s evolution as a character offers little extra for viewers.  The most insightful of the bonus discussions come in the form of Evans’ discussion on directing and that of the costuming and makeup.  The other discussions are in reality, extraneous.  Viewers will be glad to see Evans’ own appreciation for what it takes to get the right angles, the impact of lighting for a scene’s mood, and other related topics.  His work behind the lens pays off, too, as is seen in the noted areas, as well as in the acting in the key episode.  The discussion on the costuming and makeup shows the lengths to which those behind the lens went to make sure that the series’ costumes and backdrops looked the part for the 1970s.  The mention of the effort to make Leonidas look like famed actress Sophia Loren in terms of her fashion shows even more, the attempts to maintain the look of the times.  It is just too bad that the discussion on making the show reflect the look of the times was not more in-depth.  For that matter, it’s too bad that none of the bonus content was more in-depth.  It would have been nice to have had some discussion on who made the decision to make Season Seven a serial season, why the writers decided to make that romance story between Violetta and Morse the center of the show, as well as where things will go between Morse and Thursday.  Sadly, that lack of extra information detracts from the show’s presentation in its recent home release even more.  Considering everything noted about the content featured in the seventh season of Endeavour, the set’s average point for its DVD and Blu-ray presentation makes for its own interest.

The average price point for Endeavour’s DVD presentation is $28.11 and its Blu-ray presentation, $33.25.  The DVD was not listed at Target, but the Blu-ray platform was.  Keeping all of that in mind, the DVD price point was obtained by averaging price listings at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ online store.  The Blu-ray price point was reached by averaging prices at the noted retailers as well as at Target.  Amazon presents the least expensive listing at $22.99.  Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers offer prices below that average at $22.99 and $24.99 respectively.  Walmart’s listing of $28.23 is just above the average, while Books-A-Million far exceeds that number at $44.99.  PBS’ regular listing of $34.99 also far exceeds the average, as does its sale price of $29.99.  Books-A-Million also far exceeds the average price point for the season’s Blu-ray presentation, at $44.99 along with PBS’ listing of $39.99.  Amazon and Walmart, which each list the season’s Blu-ray set at $27.64 offer the least expensive pricing while Target and Best Buy offer a slightly higher price at $27.99.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers reaches the high end with a listing of $31.49.  Noting the set’s average and separate price listings here is important, again, because of the content featured (and not featured) in the set.  The DVD price listing would have been more attractive at maybe $25 and the Blu-ray $30 if not maybe a little less considering, again, how little bonus content is featured in the set, and how largely forgettable this season’s stories are in whole.  That is in comparison to the show’s first six seasons, each of which are so much more enjoyable in their own right.  Keeping everything noted here in mind, the seventh season of Endeavour is the series’ lowest point.  Thankfully there is at least one more season left, and hopefully it will make up for everything wrong with this season.

The seventh season of itv’s Endeavour is the least of the show’s seasons so far. That is due in part to the season’s writing.  The writing presents a season-long story that feels so forced and contrived from beginning to end.  It also leaves at least one major question unanswered.  That question is whether Morse and Thursday’s professional and personal relationship will heal following the season’s events.  The very limited bonus content poses its own problem for the set’s presentation, too.  They give viewers a glimpse behind the writing and lenses, but little more than that.  Considering everything noted here, the average price points for the season’s DVD and Blu-ray sets seem a bit high, as do the separate listings.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the season’s set.  All things considered, they make this season a presentation that hopefully will not be repeated in the series’ eighth season, whenever it launches.

More information on Endeavour is available online now at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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Twitterhttp://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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Viewers Of All Ages Will Want To “Explore” PBS Distribution’s Latest ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ DVD

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Five seasons is a relatively long time for any television series to last.  That is how long PBS/PBS Kids’ series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has lasted since its premiere in 2012.  It just ran its fifth season in August 2019.  The program has continue Fred Rogers’ legacy, teaching young viewers lessons about topics, such as how to express their feelings, how to play well with others and appreciating the small things in the world.  Those lessons have also made their way to an expansive series of DVDs (23 single disc collections), the latest of is scheduled for release Tuesday in the form of Explore The Outdoors.  This latest offering is another enjoyable presentation for its target audiences.  That is proven in part through the set’s featured episodes.  The use of the episode separators while minor, is actually key in its own way to the viewing experience, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  The lessons that are incorporated into the episodes are another important part of the presentation’s whole.  They will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Explore The Outdoors another positive addition to PBS Distribution’s ongoing series of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs.

Explore The Outdoors, the latest addition to PBS Distribution’s ongoing series of DVDs from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, is another enjoyable offering for the show’s target audiences.  That is proven in part through the collection’s featured episodes.  Six episodes are featured in this latest collection.  The majority of the episodes do well in sticking to the DVD’s central theme of exploring the outdoors.  The only exceptions to that rule come in the form of ‘Daniel Plays in A Gentle Way’ and ‘Daniel’s Toy.’  The episodes feature stories that do find Daniel and his friends outside, but are more about playing together outdoors than actually exploring the outdoors.  So they are a bit of a stretch, but do at least feature stories that take Daniel and company outdoors.  The other four featured episodes are more in line with the DVD’s theme.  From exploring the outdoors and appreciating all that nature has to offer in the title episode and in its companion, “Daniel’s Nature Walk,” to learning about lizards in another, to being active outdoors, playing with a kite in “Daniel Feels Two Feelings,” the DVD’s episodes largely stay true to its theme.

While not presented chronologically, the episodes present a snapshot of the series, as they are lifted from the program’s second, third and fourth seasons.  That in itself proves to be a positive for audiences.  That is because again, the episodes serve that latent function of showing various examples of the show’s writing over the course of its run.  To that extent, whether intended or not, the episodes play an even larger part in the DVD’s presentation.  When considered with the fact that the episodes do largely follow the DVD’s central title theme, they show even more why they are critical in their own right to the DVD’s presentation.  They are just one of the DVD’s key elements, to note.  The mid-show spacers that are featured with the episodes play their own important part to its whole.

The mid-show separators that are featured with Explore The Outdoors might not seem all that important to the DVD’s presentation on the surface.  However, their addition actually adds to the viewing experience.  Their inclusion with the episodes actually make it feel that much more like audiences are watching the episodes on TV rather than on DVD.  Keeping in mind that counterparts to the series, such as Let’s Go Luna, Curious George, and Arthur all have mid-show separators, but do not include them in the shows’ DVD releases makes for a clearer picture.  It’s an aesthetic element, but an element nonetheless that plays into the set’s presentation, and its inclusion here adds its own share of value to the DVD’s presentation, too.  It is not the last of the DVD’s most important elements, either.  The lessons that are tied into the featured episodes are key, too.

The lessons that are incorporated into the DVD’s featured episodes are important to note in that they will prove familiar to any of the series’ longtime viewers.  “Daniel Feels Two Feelings” presents audiences with yet another lesson about handling our feelings.  That is nothing new to the series, but still as welcome as ever.  “Daniel’s Toy” teaches young viewers that not everybody likes the same things, and that we should not degrade others just because they like different things.  That is a lesson that sadly adults need to learn over again.  The lesson about appreciating the importance of playing quietly and safely that is incorporated into “Daniel Plays In A Gentle Way” is reminiscent of the lesson in another story in while Daniel wanted to play loud, but his friend O The Owl wanted to play quietly.  Again, it is a lesson that deserves reminding.  The other three episodes featured in this DVD all present lessons about the wonder of nature, which will resonate with any child, and hopefully get said children outside and active.  All things considered, each lesson presents its own value and will certainly serve as a solid starting point for discussion between parents and their children about the noted topics.  When this is considered along with the importance of the DVD’s aesthetics and its episodes, the whole of the DVD becomes a presentation that is just as welcome in any family’s home DVD library as its predecessors.

PBS Distribution’s latest addition to its ongoing series of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs, Explore The Outdoors is another successful entry in that series.  It is a presentation that ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment just as much as those DVDs.  That is due in part to its featured episodes, which largely follow the DVD’s title theme.  The mid-show separators that come with the episodes add their own depth to the set’s presentation.  The same can be said of the lessons that are incorporated into the episodes.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD another successful offering that will be welcome in any family’s home library.

More information on this and other Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs is available online now along with activities, games, printouts and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://pbskids.org/daniel

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/danieltigertv

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Distribution To Release New ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ DVD This Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Distribution will release a new collection of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episodes on DVD this fall.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Explore The Outdoors is scheduled for release Sept. 22.  The single-disc collection features six episodes of the beloved series, all of which center on the topic of going outside and appreciating all that the outdoors has to offer.

One of the most notable of the disc’s episodes — “Daniel Explores Nature” — finds Daniel and his parents spending the day outdoors.  Daniel discovers a bird, and in turn learn how birds build their nests.  The bird’s next falls out of the tree, so it’s up to Daniel and his parents to get the nest back in the tree.

“Daniel’s Nature Walk” is another episode featured in the DVD.  This episode’s story follows O the Owl and his uncle X The Owl as the duo goes for a nature walk in the forest.  Along the way, the pair sees all kinds of creatures, such as frogs and worms, and even gets to see a rainbow.

“Daniel Plays in a Gentle Way,” yet another of the DVD’s stories, reminds young viewers about the importance of being careful even when playing.  That lesson is taught as some of Daniel’s friends want to play fast, even though he wants to play slow and safe.

Daniel Tiger’s NeighborhoodExplore The Outdoors will retail for MSRP of $6.99.  Pre-orders are open now.

More information on this and other Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs is available online now along with activities, games, printouts and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://pbskids.org/daniel

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/danieltigertv

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Arthur: The Ultimate Friendship Collection’ Is A Nearly Complete Success

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Friendship is one of the most important things that people can have in life.  Without friendships we as a species likely would have little chance of survival.  Friendships give us the experiences in life that help us become who we are.  They help keep us going in our highest and lowest points.  That is why they are central to almost every television show and movie ever created.  Early this month, PBS Distribution released a new collection of episodes from PBS/PBS Kids’ hit long-running series Arthur that focuses on the matter of friendship in the form of The Ultimate Friendship Collection.  While not perfect, the three-disc collection is largely a success.  That is due in part to its featured episodes.  They will be discussed shortly.  The episodes tie in to the set’s one negative, its lack of an episode guide.  This will be discussed a little later.  The stories that are featured within the stories add to the set’s appeal and couples with the episodes themselves to give audiences even more to appreciate even despite the concern raised by the lack of an episode guide.  Keeping all of this in mind, the set is one of this year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.

PBS Distribution’s new Arthur box set is easily one of this year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.  That is due in part to the set’s episodes.  The episodes in question take audiences from Season One all the way to Season 21.  It’s not a full series set, considering the series is in its 23rd season (with at least two more seasons already planned), but is still a deeply rich presentation in its own right.  It features specific episodes that focus on different issues of friendship.  There is the matter of teamwork, that of treating others as equals, and even not letting power go to one’s head among much more.  This will all be discussed in more depth later in the discussion on the stories featured in the episodes. Making the matter of the episods even better is that the set runs almost chronologically.  It starts in Season One with the episode “Poor Muffy” and runs all the way to Season 21’s episode, “Muffy Misses Out.”  Now that is not to say that every episode centers on Muffy.  The episodes feature stories that focus on her, Francine, George, Arthur, Buster and the rest of Arthur’s friends (including the Tough Customers) throughout.  Keeping all of this in mind, the episodes that are featured in this in-depth collection form a strong foundation for the set.

While the episodes that are featured in Arthur: The Ultimate Friendship Collection go a long way toward making the set an impressive presentation, the lack of an episode guide to accompany them detracts somewhat from the set’s presentation.  Yes, there are 48 episodes here, and that is a lot.  That is understandable.  Even with that in mind, those responsible for the collection’s assembly could have just as easily printed the corresponding episode titles and disc numbers inside the case, as many companies do with their box sets.  Another option would have been to print a booklet of sorts that outlines the episodes and their corresponding discs.  The added material might have meant the possibility of the set’s average price point of $16.07 (determined by averaging prices at PBS’ online store, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers – It was not listed through Target and Books-a-Million ) slightly higher, but still would not have made that price a budget breaker.  Yes, it is more of an aesthetic element, but the less time that audiences have to spend trying to decide which disc to watch, the more the enjoyment grows.  But in the case of this set, the episode titles are only available when each disc is played.  There is not even an episode summary.  To that end, this aspect does hurt the set’s presentation.  Luckily, the issues raised by the lack of an episode guide do not do enough damage to make the set a failure.  It is just something that hopefully will be taken into account with the next Arthur box set (or box set from any PBS Kids series).

Putting aside the concerns raised by the lack of any kind of episode guide here, there is still one more element to examine in PBS Distribution’s new Arthur DVD box set.  That element in question is the stories contained within the featured episodes.  As already noted, the episodes all follow the theme of friendship in one way or another, and rarely repeat their themes.  This adds even more appeal to the set.  One of the stories that audiences are sure to appreciate comes in the Season Seven episode “Prunella Sees the Light.”  This episode finds Prunella and her blind friend Marina butting heads after Prunella visits Marina’s house one day.  Prunella brings to light once too often, the fact that Marina is blind.  The problem is that Prunella thinks in her own mind that she is helping Marina.  Marina on the other hand, points out to Prunella that she does not need to be reminded that she is blind and that she is offended when she is treated as anything other than a person.  This is a time honored theme for children’s series (and even to an extent, for grown-up shows).  Saved By The Bell did this many years ago when Zack befriended a young woman in a wheelchair.  Other series have taken similar approaches.  It is a lesson that sadly even now in the 21st century, still bears repeating for audiences of all ages.  Making the episode even more enjoyable for audiences is the blatant spoof of the Harry Potter franchise, of which both young women are part.

“Buster and the Daredevils” (from Season 2) is another key example of what makes the set’s featured stories so important to this set.  It’s another story that focuses on a character other than Arthur, yet is so enjoyable in its own right.  It shows that while Arthur is the series’ title character, some of the best episodes are the ones that do not center on him.  Buster learns in this episode that real friends are those people who like you for you.  Real friends are not people who make you do embarrassing things in order to be accepted.  He learns this after he tries to make friends with one member of The Tough Customers and his own friend because he thinks at first that they are cool.  This is just one of those difficult lessons that everyone learns as part of their development.  It makes this story timeless in its own right.

In yet another important addition to the set, George (another of Arthur’s friends) has to learn the important lesson that it is okay to say no to people.  This happens as Buster keeps asking for everything that George has.  Buster essentially is taking advantage of George and his kindness.  It takes George losing his pencil, his jacket, and even a dessert at lunch one day for him to finally reach his breaking point.  What’s important to note here is that while George does in fact blow his top at one point, he is much calmer in handling Buster.  How he addresses the situation with Buster will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  It’s important because it shows it is possible for people to deal with conflict peacefully.  This is just one more of so many ways in which this box set proves such a success.  When all of the set’s stories are considered along with the episodes themselves, they make the set well worth watching.  Again, that is despite the one minor issue of the set’s missing episode guide.  Keeping all of this in mind, Arthur: The Complete Friendship Collection proves to be a nearly complete success.

PBS Distribution’s new Arthur DVD box set The Complete Friendship is an impressive presentation that even despite its one negative, is still an enjoyable set.  The success comes mainly from the set’s featured episodes.  The episodes take audiences from Season One to 21.  Not every single episode from the series is featured here (especially considering that the series is in its 23rd season).  Even despite that, the episodes certainly present a rich picture of the series’ beginnings and evolution while also featuring stories that maintain the set’s central theme of friendship.  For all that the episodes do positively for this set, the lack of any episode guide detracts from the set at least to a point.  It does not make the set a failure, but certainly would have added even more to the set’s appeal regardless.  The stories entertain and educate audiences of all ages from one to the next, putting the finishing touch to the set’s presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make Arthur: The Complete Friendship Collection a nearly complete success.

More information on the new DVD set is available along with lots of printables, activities, games and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.pbskids.org/arthur

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArthurPBS

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rena Strober’s New Compilation Is A Fitting Tribute To The Work Of Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Sesame Street has, for more than half a century, educated and entertained audiences of all ages through its songs, skits and animated segments.  Over the course of its more than 50 years on the air, the series has garnered recognition from around the world and produced any number of VHS, DVD and CD releases.  Broadway actress Rena Strober – who has worked on TV shows, such as Sailor Moon, Liv and Maddie, and Penn Zero: Part Time Hero — will release her own tribute to the music of the beloved series with her new compilation album Imagine That!: The Sesame Street Music of Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss on Friday.  The 14-song compilation record is a welcome addition to any family’s music library.  That is due in part to its featured songs.  This will be explained shortly.  The songs’ arrangements add their own positive touch to the compilation.  They will be addressed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make this compilation that will appeal to Sesame Street fans of any age.

Rena Strober’s new compilation of Sesame Street songs is a presentation that Sesame Street fans of all ages will appreciate.  Its appeal is due in part to its featured songs.  As the compilation’s subtitle states, many of the songs featured here aired during Sesame Street’s earliest years on television.  Written and composed by the team of Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss, the songs featured here were largely featured in the long-running series’ debut season, which aired in 1971.  While the compilation reaches all the way back to the series’ first season, it also reaches all the way up to its 22nd season, which aired in 1989.  Among the most notable of the featured songs are the timeliness tune ‘I Don’t Want To Live On The Moon,’ ‘Being Green’ and ‘Imagination.’  Also known by the title ‘It’s Not Easy (Being Green),’ that song in question is arguably the most timeless of the series’ songs.  Sung originally by Kermit The Frog, it addresses the feelings that a person has in recognizing he or she is not the same as others.  ‘I Don’t Want To Live on the Moon,’ sung by Ernie, is a touching lullaby that will put a smile on any listener’s face.  It celebrates the fascination with exploring new places and the appreciation of being at home.  Other songs, such as ‘High, Middle, Low,’ ‘Imagination,’ and ‘Sing’ all over their own entertainment.  Given, the compilation largely focuses on Sesame Street’s earliest years, but even with that in mind, it still does its own positive job of profiling the state of the series’ music at that point.  To that end, it is still a positive in its own right to this compilation.  The arrangements of the compilation’s timeless tunes add even more enjoyment to its presentation.

Strober’s take of ‘Being Green’ is a prime example the importance of the songs’ arrangements.  Strober stays true to the song’s source material here, but at the same time she also gives the song its own unique touch.  Her vocal delivery style here brings out her Broadway training while flautist Shane Kirsch adds another layer to the song.  The addition of the strings to the song’s arrangement enriches the composition even more.  The subtlety in each musician’s performance takes the original song and makes it an even more deeply emotional work that listeners will love just as much as the original if not more.  It is just one way in which the compilation’s arrangements prove so important to its presentation.  ‘Believe in Yourself’ is another example of what makes the arrangements stand out.

‘Believe in Yourself’ has been performed multiple times throughout the history of Sesame Street.  It was first sung by the series’ character Molly (played by Charlotte Rae).  Since then, it went on to become a favorite of the show, performed by the likes of Diana Ross, Ray Charles and even Justin Timberlake throughout the years.  Each rendition was unique in its own way, needless to say.  Strober’s rendition presents its own unique presentation, too.  That theatrical approach for which she is known for using is just as evident here as anywhere else in the album.  At the same time, it is so easy to imagine her singing this song on the show today.  The addition of the backing vocals from DOTZ singers Gavin Stevens and Coco Jernigan, and the banjo and violin lines adds even more enjoyment to the arrangement.  It gives the song a whole new life and identity that makes the album overall that much more enjoyment for listeners.  It is just one more way in which the arrangements prove pivotal to the record.  ‘I Don’t Want To Live on The Moon’ is one more example of the importance of the arrangements featured in this recording.

Strober’s take on the timeless tune that is ‘I Don’t Want To Live on the Moon’ is even more moving than the original.  Pat Coil’s performance on the song’s keyboard intro sets the tone right from its outset.  That, together with Strober’s simple, minimalist vocal delivery adds even more depth.  Giovanna Clayton’s performance on the cello is so gentle in its own right, too.  When that gentle, subtle addition is joined with the keyboards and Strober’s vocal delivery the whole of the song becomes this compilation’s brightest point.  It stays true to its source material and builds so much on that material at the same time.  It is certain to become even more a favorite among audiences in this presentation.  When it is considered along with the other arrangements noted here and the rest of the compilation’s arrangements, the end result is a record whose arrangements make it just as much as for the songs themselves and the history that they represent.  It is just one more way in which the compilation proves worth hearing.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

Rena Strober’s new compilation starts off lightly with the bouncy, mid-tempo take of ‘Somebody Come And Play.’  From there, the record pulls back in ‘Sing,’ but then immediately picks right back up in ‘Imagine That.’  The rises and falls continue on from there in the next trio of songs, too – ‘Being Green,’ ‘I’m Pretty/I’m An Aardvark,’ ‘I Don’t Want To Live On The Moon.’  The rises and falls continue moderately from there on right to the compilation’s finale.’  The effect is that the album’s overall energy is balanced smoothly from one to the next.  Those transitions and balanced energy are primarily aesthetic elements, but they work so well here.  When it is considered along with the record’s overall content, the compilation in whole proves a fitting tribute to the work of Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss, while also proving to be a collection of songs that Sesame Street fans of all ages will appreciate.

Rena Strober’s new family music album Imagine That!: The Sesame Street Music of Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss is an enjoyable new offering from the veteran actress.  It is a work that shows even more the breadth of Strober’s own talents while also serving as a strong tribute to two of the greatest musical figures from the history of Sesame Street.  At the same time, it is just as much a wonderful celebration of the musical history of the series.  This is all due in pat to the record’s featured songs.  The songs’ arrangements add their own unique touch to the record.  The same can be said of the compilation’s sequencing.  Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make it a work that the most devoted Sesame Street fans will appreciate.  Imagine That!: The Sesame Street Music of Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss is scheduled for release Friday through Knighthawk Digital Entertainment Group.

More information on Rena Strober’s new record is available along with all of her latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://renastrober.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/renastroberfanpage

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/renastrober

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Distribution Announces Release Date, Specs For New ‘Arthur’ DVD Set

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Distribution will release a new collection of episodes from the hit PBS Kids series Arthur next month.

ArthurThe Ultimate Friendship Collection is scheduled for release Aug. 11.  The collection is composed of 48 episodes spread across three discs at a total run time of 10 hours.

This new collection of episodes reaches as far back as Arthur‘s very first season with the episode “Team Trouble.”  This episode finds Arthur, his best fried Buster and their friend Francine tapped to work together on a project about ancient Rome.  The trio agrees to create a comic book about ancient Rome, but that idea ends up causing its own issues among the trio.  The story has a happy ending that will put a smile on any viewer’s face.  It is just one of the most notable additions to the collection.  “D.W., Bossy Boots” is another notable addition to the set.

“D.W., Bossy Boots” is featured in the 10th season of Arthur.  This story centers on Arthur’s little sister D.W.  D.W. learns an invaluable lesson about friendship and being bossy after a series of actions leads her friends to shy away from her.  From D.W. blowing out the candles on her friend’s birthday cake before her to being reminded about pushing others out of the way in gymnastics to taking the noted friend’s present, she does a lot to push people away.  It is not until she has a dream that she realizes the error of her ways.  This is just another notable addition to ArthurThe Ultimate Friendship Collection.  “Arthur’s Faraway Friend” is one more of the collection’s standout stories.

“Arthur’s Faraway Friend” is featured in the second season of the long-running series.  It teaches a key lesson about letting go when Buster reveals to Arthur that he is going to visit his father temporarily.  That means having to fly to another city.  Even though he knows Buster’s absence is only going to be temporary, Arthur still has a hard time coming to terms with the separation from his best friend.  That is until he receives a package from Buster.  Arthur then reminds himself that he hopes Buster has fun and that Buster’s visit with his dad is only temporary.

ArthurThe Ultimate Friendship Collection will retail for MSRP of $19.99.  Pre-orders are open now.

More information on the new DVD set is available along with lots of printables, activities, games and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.pbskids.org/arthur

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArthurPBS

 

 

 

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PBS To Launch New Amazon Prime Video Channel Next Month

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will launch a new Prime Video channel next month.

The network is scheduled to launch its PBS Documentaries channel on Aug. 4.  The channel will featured documentaries from PBS’ series, such as FrontlineAmerican Experience and NOVA.  Audiences can view a trailer for the new channel here.

Andrea Downing, Co-President of PBS Distribution, shared her thoughts on the coming launch of the new streaming video channel in a prepared statement.

“PBS is the leader of high-quality, compelling nonfiction entertainment, and the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is a natural addition to our current streaming offering on Prime Video Channels—PBS Masterpiece, PBS Living AND PBS Kids.,” she said.  “This channel will not only help bring engaging stories about life in all corners of our country to a new audience, it will provide needed revenues to sustain public broadcasting’s public-private partnership model for the benefit of all stations and the communities they serve,”

Documentarian Ken Burns, who most recently helmed the PBS documentary Country Music, and who has also helmed other PBS documentaries, such as JazzThe Vietnam War and Baseball said in his own comments that he was anticipating the channel’s launch,

“We had long hoped to be able to have all of our films available in one place so the public would have access to the body of work,” said Burns. “We’re thrilled that this is now possible thanks to the efforts of PBS Distribution and Amazon to launch the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel and also through PBS’s Passport initiative that allows viewers to support their public television stations. Both will also contribute to the larger mission of PBS.”

PBS Documentaries is expected to have almost 1,000 hours of content available for audiences upon its launch.  Burns’ documentaries will be among that content, as well as Stanley Nelson’s documentary The Black PanthersVanguard of the Revolution.

Nelson shared his pleasure at the announcement of the channel’s launch through his own comments.

“I’m thrilled to see that my work will find a new home on this channel,” said Nelson. “PBS has become a premier destination for documentary programming in the U.S. and has been hugely invested in giving films by diverse storytellers and emerging filmmakers much-needed national exposure. I’m so glad that my film on the Black Panther Party, which can inform communities in our current historical moment, will be able to reach different audiences on this new service.”

Subscription to PBS Documentaries will cost $3.99/month with an Amazon Prime or Prim Video subscription.  It will only be available in the United States.

PBS Documentaries is just one of the ways in which audiences can view PBS’ documentary programs.  PBS also offers its own streaming service called Passport.  It allows people to pay a given fee to watch the network’s programs through its own website.

More information on PBS Documentaries is available along with all of PBS’ latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBS

 

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PBS Announces Streaming Date For ‘Endeavour: Season Seven’

Courtesy: itv/PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Distribution is bringing the latest season of the crime drama Endeavour to its streaming service.

The seventh season of the British crime drama is scheduled to stream through the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel Aug. 9.  The channel is available with a subscription to Amazon Prime and Prime Video.  Subscription to the noted services is $5.99/month.

The seventh season of Endeavour is believed by many to possibly be the last for the hit series.  Opening on New Year’s Eve 1969, the three-episode season finds things back to some semblance of normalcy among Endeavour and his co-workers following the events of Season Six.

Chief Superintendent Bright is back in charge, and while new relationships will grow, friends already established will face their own new challenges.

The 1970s opens for the staff of Castlegate CID with the discovery of a body at the canal towpath on New Year’s Day.  The only clue that the investigators have to go on in the case is a witness who alleges having heard whistling just before the crime happened.

Pre-orders are open now for the home release of EndeavourSeason Seven on DVD an Blu-ray.  Its home release is scheduled for Aug. 25.

More information on Endeavour is available online now at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/masterpiecepbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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Rena Strober Announces Release Date, Specs For Debut Family Music Album

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Famed actress Rena Strober will release her debut family music album next month.

Strober — who has worked on TV shows, such as Sailor MoonLiv and Maddie, and Penn ZeroPart Time Hero and worked on a variety of Broadway stage shows — will release her new musical offering, titled Imagine That!The Sesame Street Music of Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss Aug. 28.

The 14-song record features guest performances from other famed figures, such as Jason Alexander (Seinfeldthe Hunchback of Notre DamePretty Woman), French Stewart (3rd Rock From The SunMomStargate), and Michael-Leon Wooley (The Princess and the FrogDreamgirlsPremium Rush) along with a variety of other well-known stars.

The compilation features some of the most beloved songs from Sesame Street‘s now 50-years-plus on television, including but not limited to the timeless tune ‘I Don’t Want To Live On The Moon,’ ‘Being Green’ and ‘Believe In Yourself.’

Raposo’s son Nick praised Strober for her work on her new record in a prepared statement, saying, “My family and I were thrilled to work with Rena Strober to bring this wonderful album to life. My father dedicated his life to respecting and nurturing all children, of every ability and heritage, everywhere.”

The release of Imagine That!The Sesame Street Music of Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss is directly aligned with National Guide Dog Month, which is celebrated in September.  In celebration of the month, a portion of proceeds from the record’s sale will go to benefit Guide Dogs of America and the Gavin R. Stevens Foundation.  The agencies work to find a treatment and cure for blindness, with focus on Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA).

The album will be available with a braille cover for audiences who are hard of sight and blind.  It can be ordered digitally and physically here.  Audiences can view a behind-the-scenes video featuring Strober talking about the album’s inspiration and creation.

More information on Rena Strober’s new record is available along with all of her latest news at:

 

Website: http://renastrober.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/renastroberfanpage

Twitter: http://twitter.com/renastrober

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.