TV Tango Search


|              FREE: Ask a TV Expert

Next at the Kennedy Center

Next at the Kennedy Center

  • Premiered: 
    October 14, 2022
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: PBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Music
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter:
  • Tags:

Buy This Show on DVD or Watch Online

No DVDs Available
(That We Know Of)
Legal Full Episodes
Not Available Online
(That We Know Of)

Plot Synopsis

NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER spotlights cultural leaders from the worlds of hip hop, jazz, folk, comedy, modern dance and more. Captured to match the unique style of the artists, each episode weaves together performances filmed live at The Kennedy Center with intimate off-stage moments to contextualize their significance and impact. Reflecting the diversity of today's performing arts in America and featuring a dynamic mix of rising stars and renowned artists, the series explores the enduring influence of artistic changemakers such as The Roots, Charles Mingus, and Joni Mitchell, through the eyes of the artists they helped inspire. Episodes include:

"Let My Children Hear Mingus" (Friday, October 14, 2022 at 9pm): Anchored by a performance featuring the Mingus Big Band in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, this episode features performances from and interviews with legendary musicians, record producers, historians, and activists across generations including Charles McPherson, Jason Moran, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Robert Glasper, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Keki Mingus and Christian McBride. These artists share their personal experiences playing with Mingus and growing up with his music. Together, through the lens of music and history, we get a picture of Mingus' outsized personality, unique style, and tender heart. This portrait of the entire man gives context to his music and a deeper understanding of how Mingus fused classical styles of jazz with the gospel and world music, pushed musical and cultural boundaries, and influenced future generations of artists in the worlds of contemporary jazz, R&B, soul, and beyond. In the words of James Newton, Mingus' music is "art created at the edge of a cliff."

"A Joni Mitchell Songbook" (Friday, November 18, 2022 at 9pm): The timeless and genre-defying influence of Joni Mitchell's artistry is celebrated with an all-star lineup at the Kennedy Center, accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra led by Grammy Award-winning composer Vince Mendoza. This heartfelt tribute to the folk and jazz music legend reflects upon Mitchell's orchestral recordings of "Both Sides Now" and "Travelogue," which realized a meditative and hauntingly expressive tone to Mitchell's seminal works. Featuring unique renditions of some of her most beloved songs, such as "A Case of You," "Woodstock," "River," and "The Circle Game," the program includes performances by Lalah Hathaway, Renee Fleming, Jimmie Herrod, Raul Midpn, and Aoife O'Donovan. Beyond the Concert Hall stage, this program explores how the raw vulnerability and intimacy of Mitchell's work served as a roadmap for fans and future generations of singer-songwriters. A diverse array of musicians and collaborators share anecdotes about Mitchell's influence on their art. This program will be achingly relevant, showing how her emotional authenticity echoes more powerfully today than ever before.

"The Roots Residency" (Friday, January 27, 2023 at 9pm): Known for electrifying live performances that blend hip hop, jazz, rap, soul and funk, The Roots regularly sell out concert venues when they're not serving as the house band for THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON. This episode takes music fans beyond the stage, coupling live concert footage with a look at the band's curatorial endeavors, masterclasses and humanitarian activities from their residency at the Kennedy Center. Respected cultural trailblazers, frontmen Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter are committed to inspiring and educating rising artists. Viewers will meet EZY Truth, a Washington, D.C.-based hip hop artist and member of Black Thought's "School of Thought," a mentoring program for aspiring emcees. They'll hear from Durrand Bernarr, an emerging R&B artist who participated in "The Road to the Roots Picnic," a series of curated live performances that launched virtually during the pandemic. The episode also includes moments from "Music is History," Questlove's discussion with Reverend Al Sharpton about the drummer's latest book, as well as Black Thought's "Streams of Thought" conversation with photographer David Allen.

"Ballet Hispanico's Dona Peron" (Friday, April 14, 2023 at 10pm): Anchored by a Ballet Hispanico performance -- choreographed by the highly sought-after and award-winning Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and set to music by composer Peter Salem at the Kennedy Center's Concert Hall -- the two-hour special explores Eva's rags-to-riches journey from illegitimate daughter to dancehall performer, acclaimed radio personality to Argentina's First Lady, and her untimely death in her early thirties. Ballet Hispanico's Dandara Veiga, Chris Bloom, and the company's ensemble bring Dona Peron's inner conflict and the extremes of power and powerlessness in life to light. Loved by Juan Peron but rejected by the aristocracy, Eva was dedicated to justice yet part of a regime with fascist tendencies. Her work as an activist and advocate for Argentina's women and working class raised skepticism as she indulged in the opulence of a high-class life. Was she a voice for the people, or a deceitful actress? Through interviews with performers and Ballet Hispanico's creative team, this episode explores the significance of Dona Peron and the process behind its conception and creation. A story most widely known to be associated with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway musical, Ballet Hispanico -- led by Artistic Director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro -- forged a partnership with Lopez Ochoa to provide the opportunity for creative leaders with Latin heritage to reclaim the story's narrative and present its own interpretation of the historical icon. For over fifty years Ballet Hispanico has provided a place of honor for the omitted, overlooked, and othered. Founded in 1970 by National Medal of Arts recipient Tina Ramirez, Ballet Hispanico is now headed by Vilaro, who was recruited as a dancer by Ramirez in 1985. Vilaro, who emigrated from Cuba when he was five years old, carries on Ramirez's legacy to create a home that celebrates Hispanic diasporas. It's no surprise the themes in Dona Peron mirror the lives lived by the artists who created and performed this powerful piece. Uprooted from their childhood homes, forced to learn a new language and a new culture, members of the company tell their stories of resilience as they come to terms with where they came from and who they are today. Each, like Eva, has to face the duality within us all in our search for achievement and inner peace. Through these lived experiences and with their dedication to the highest levels of dance, the company is able to effectively capture the essence of these ideas ever-present in her story.

"Continuum: Jason Moran & Christian McBride" (Friday, April 21, 2023 at 10pm): Pianist Jason Moran and bassist Christian McBride are partnering together at The Kennedy Center for an electrifying performance elevating the jazz tradition. In the one-hour program, Moran and McBride also share stories about their legendary teachers and introduce viewers to their remarkable proteges. Taking inspiration from America's diverse artistic landscape, Moran and McBride's collaboration is infused with a distinctive soul which illuminates their reverence of the past, and commitment to make every note feel relevant to modern times. These elements are felt through performances of music composed by legends Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, Geri Allen and Louis Armstrong. Whether it's taking inspiration from the text of Toni Morrison or their love of Hip Hop and Funk, in both their musical sensibilities and as ambassadors for the jazz community, they hold a deep appreciation for the entire tradition of Jazz -- each as links in a chain dedicated to the preservation and evolution of America's original musical art form. From a young age, each sought out their heroes to absorb knowledge, wisdom, and take lessons in temperament, collaboration, and musicianship. Moran and McBride have learned by the side of countless legends including Jaki Byard, Betty Carter, Geri Allen, and Freddie Hubbard. Lessons from these individuals informed how they approach their work, inspired their future roles as artistic ambassadors, and instilled a commitment to paying it forward by mentoring the next generation of jazz greats -- ensuring the rich legacy of jazz is preserved and is given freedom for evolution. While Moran's role as artistic director of Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead program at The Kennedy Center and McBride's role as artistic director of Jazz House Kids in New Jersey are formal encapsulations of their leadership in the field, they continuously strive to identify and offer opportunities to the next generation of musicians who follow in their footsteps. In service of paying forward learnings from their mentors, Moran and McBride have taken emerging musicians Sequoia "REDWOOD" Snyder (piano) and Liany Mateo (bass) under their respective wings to offer opportunity and carry the torch. In this spirit, REDWOOD and Mateo perform and contextualize their places in this storied continuum. In the tradition of the Bill Evans/Eddie Gomez duets, The Moran/McBride Session focuses on a night of great music and the importance of America's musical legacy as it is passed from generation to generation.

Season 2 of NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER debuted on Friday, October 13, 2023 at 10pm on PBS (check local listings) with the first of two new episodes in October:

"Robert Glasper's Black Radio" (Friday, October 13, 2023 at 10pm): This one-hour special captures the ever-curious, virtuosic, and playful mind of five-time Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, and producer Robert Glasper and showcases how Black Radio crossed genres and gave emerging artists a chance to infuse their true personalities into the music, creating the album's unmistakable sound. With the birth of Black Radio, Glasper gave rise to a new attitude in the music industry: one where artists were allowed and encouraged to take risks, be unapologetically in the moment, and challenge their expectations of what popular music could be. In celebration of Black Radio's 10th Anniversary, the one-hour special documents the Kennedy Center's homecoming for some of the album's original collaborators. Glasper returns to the Concert Hall for a historic performance, with special guests Lalah Hathaway, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bilal, Affion Crockett, Kyle Abraham and Amir Sulaiman, and featuring Derrick Hodge leading the Black Radio Orchestra. Through the lens of music and storytelling, friends and collaborators of Glasper, including Don Cheadle, Don Was and Esperanza Spalding share how his exploration of new musical territory blended to create a musical collage from all reaches of contemporary black music and beyond. Glasper and the creative legends behind Black Radio share with viewers their trials and tribulations as young musicians, chronicle the creation of Black Radio, discuss Glasper's unique style of collaboration, and laugh, and cry recalling memories in the decade since the album's conception. In a portrait of one visionary's boundless and eternal pursuit for innovation, this story gives an intimate look into the mind behind the album that reshaped how black music is uplifted and celebrated.

"Embracing Duality: Modern Indigenous Cultures" (Friday, October 20, 2023 at 9pm): In partnership with electronic music pioneers The Halluci Nation, R&B artist Martha Redbone and performance artist Ty Defoe, the Kennedy Center explores the impact and evolution of indigenous performing arts cultures. In taking influence from a diversity of Nations, cultures, languages, philosophies, spiritual traditions, peoples, and practices rooted in indigenous cultures, contemporary artists across genres have infused indigenous elements, influences and rhythms into Indie Pop, Roots, R&B, Electronic, and beyond. The special pays homage to the past with Grammy Award-winner and two-spirit artist Defoe's celebration of life's interconnectedness with his performance of hoop dancing, one of the oldest native dances. Redbone then welcomes viewers to explore the unique blend of folk, blues, and gospel as she pays tribute to her African American and indigenous roots. The Halluci Nation, formerly known as A Tribe Called Red, pays homage to the energy and momentum of Ottawa's Electric Pow Wow gatherings while pointing to where the future is headed. The group also performs a dynamic live rendition of "Stadium Pow Wow," their breakout song featured in the trailer for the Martin Scorsese movie "Killers of the Flower Moon." Featuring conversations and personal anecdotes, these artists delve into the subtle and complex representation of the contemporary Indigenous experience. Through the powerful and uplifting performances across the Kennedy Center campus, NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER tells the story and offers a platform to those artists who continue to celebrate and carry forward their traditions in unique and distinct ways.

"Cynthia Erivo & Friends: A New Year's Eve Celebration" (Sunday, December 31, 2023 at 8pm): Cynthia Erivo, enchanting star of the stage and screen, invites viewers to ring in the New Year with her magnificent friends Ben Platt and Joaquina Kalukango as they bring their powerful voices and favorite songs to the Kennedy Center stage. The evening features a collection of deeply personal songs that helped to shape Erivo's career and artistic sensibility and span a wide range of genres, from showtunes to hip-hop. Joining Oscar-nominated Erivo are Ben Platt and Joaquina Kalukango in a joyous celebration perfect for ringing in the New Year, under the direction of music director and producer Rickey Minor. Throughout the concert special, Erivo takes the audience on a musical journey through a diverse repertoire which traverses various genres, including Broadway, Motown, Soul, Rock, Folk, Blues, and R&B, and shares her personal reflections and stories behind the music. Throughout the evening, friends Platt and Kalukango join her, bringing their powerful voices and favorite songs to the Kennedy Center stage. In a dynamic showcase of the breadth and range of Erivo's artistry, viewers will be treated to a celebration of music in its purest form in an uplifting performance that will leave audiences inspired and ready to embrace the possibilities of the year ahead.
On Friday, April 12, 2024 at 10pm (check local listings), PBS premiered "Ben Folds Presents DECLASSIFIED," a new installment of NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER. Ben Folds invites the virtuosic Jacob Collier, rising jazz superstar Laufey, and chart-topping English singer-songwriter dodie, to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra. Challenged to reimagine their music through an orchestral lens, with a driving mission that every note played on the stage matters, they create exquisite new versions of their hit songs, without a traditional rhythm section and only the Orchestra as their band. Several of Folds' longtime collaborators shed some light on the importance of his mission, including Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Regina Spektor, Tony Award- winning composer Alex Lacamoire, featured conductor Steven Reineke, and many more.


  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Washington DC