Broadway History in ‘The Director’s Life,’ Happy Holiday Movies, Jim Gaffigan Stand-Up
A critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Harold Prince: The Director’s Life (Friday, Nov. 23, 9/8c, PBS; check local listings at pbs.org) It’s impossible to imagine Broadway without the contributions of producer/director Harold Prince, whose roster of iconic shows (including West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, Evita and the still-running Phantom of the Opera) earned him a record 21 Tony Awards. Great Performances presents a tuneful biographical retrospective with greatest-hits clips and interviews with stars including Angela Lansbury and Mandy Patinkin as well as such renowned collaborators as Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Holiday Trimmings: ‘Twas the day after Thanksgiving, and how better to aid our digestion than a heaping helping of holiday movies and specials. We start, as usual, with Hallmark, which presents Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe (8/7c), starring Hallmark fave Lacey Chabert as an independent entrepreneur who returns home and reconnects with a former rival (Brendan Penny) when they are forced to plan a charity event together. What could possibly happen?
There’s a two-fer on Lifetime, starting with Poinsettias for Christmas (8/7c), another daughter-comes-home fable starring Bethany Joy Lenz as the prodigal who returns to help her father (John Schneider) on the family poinsettia farm, where she falls for local botanist Marcus Rosner. Followed by Every Other Holiday (10/9c), a twist on The Parent Trap in which two daughters of divorce plot to reunite their parents (Schuyler Fisk and David Clayton Rogers) at Christmastime.
And if you’d rather just enjoy some music of the season, getTV’s second annual holiday special, The Soul & Spirit of Christmas (8/7c), was filmed in Nashville, featuring performances by Cece and BeBe Winans, Anthony Hamilton & the HamilTones, Take 6, and more gospel goodness from Koryn Hawthorne and Kyla Jade.
Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape (11/10c, Comedy Central): After a run in theaters and On Demand, Jim Gaffigan’s deeply personal stand-up set, which sold out on a North American tour, makes it to TV. In the special, he discusses the medical scare when wife Jeannie (who directs Noble Ape) underwent a procedure to remove a large benign tumor from her brain stem.
Inside Friday TV: Note to gearheads: cable’s Velocity channel has been rebranded, and will now be known as MotorTrend Network, effective immediately… Amazon Prime Video presents the final installment in Matthew Weiner’s disappointing anthology series The Romanoffs. “The One That Holds Anything” stars Hugh Skinner and Ben Miles in the story of a man trying to escape a family curse. Could it have anything to do with the legacy of the ill-fated Russian royals? … With a sequel to Mary Poppins heading to theaters this Christmas, Turner Classic Movies honors Oscar-winning songwriters the Sherman Brothers with back-to-back airings of cult family musicals Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (8/7c) and Cinderella fable The Slipper and the Rose (10:45/9:45c).