'A Capitol Fourth' 2021: Air time, where to watch, trailer, full lineup of PBS special

Four-time Grammy winner Renee Fleming will open 'A Capitol Fourth' with the national anthem

                            'A Capitol Fourth' 2021: Air time, where to watch, trailer, full lineup of PBS special
Auli’i Cravalho, Christopher Jackson and Renee Fleming perform for 'A Capitol Fourth Concert' in Washington, DC (Photos by Eugene Gologursky, Jemal Countess and Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)

PBS' special 'A Capitol Fourth' will be celebrating its 41 years on air featuring a slew of musical performers who will put on a concert celebrating American Freedom and Liberty. Hosted by Vanessa Williams, the evening is set to feature performances from Mickey Guyton, Williams herself, Alan Jackson, Gladys Knight, Jennifer Nettles, Laura Osnes, National Symphony Orchestra, The Joint Armed Forces Chorus and Train among others.

For the second year in a row, the show is not being held on the West Lawn of the US Capitol despite the lifting of the coronavirus restrictions. The concert performances were pre-taped without a live audience for the audience to enjoy watching from home.

Date and Air time

The special will be shown on July 4 from 8 pm to 9.30 pm ET on PBS.


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As per the official synopsis provided by PBS, 'A Capitol Fourth' is a "special presentation of A Capitol Fourth, a July 4 tradition on PBS. The nation’s 245th birthday celebration will feature new performances from sea to shining sea, all-new pre-taped performances from locations across the country will feature top stars from pop, country, R&B, classical, and Broadway. Capping off the concert broadcast will be live coverage of the fireworks display over our nation’s iconic skyline captured by multiple cameras stationed around the city. This year’s show is hosted by Vanessa Williams".


The Vanessa Williams-hosted show will feature the National Symphony Orchestra, directed by Jack Everly, who are set to perform "Olympic Fanfare," to honor the country's participation in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Vanessa Williams attends Sheen Center presents 'Vanessa Williams & Friends: Thankful for Christmas' at Sheen Center for Thought & Culture on November 18, 2019 in New York City (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Sheen Center for Thought & Culture)

The Orchestra will join the Joint Armed Forces Chorus for the '1812 Overture' during the fireworks. Although most of the show is pretaped, the fireworks will still be broadcast live, with PBS stating that they will be filmed by "more cameras than ever, including vantage points from rooftop locations across the city". As per the site, the cameras are going to be in Northern Virginia, Grant Memorial, over the US Capitol, the White House and will also show the crowd at Lincoln Memorial. 

Jimmy Buffett plays a song as he performs at a Get Out the Vote rally for US Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Florida Democratic governor candidate Andrew Gillum at the Meyer Amphitheatre on November 03, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Four-time Grammy winner Renee Fleming will open the show with the national anthem. The Armed Forces Color Guard, US Army Band and US Army Herald Trumpets will also perform, as per Deadline.

Other performers will include Jimmie Allen, Jimmy Buffett, 'Moana' star Auli’i Cravalho, Cynthia Erivo, Mickey Guyton and Alan Jackson. Soul legend Gladys Knight will return after performing “Wind Beneath My Wings” at the National Memorial Day Concert and “We Shall Be Free” at the Kennedy Center Honors. Jennifer Nettles, Laura Osnes, pop group Pentatonix will also perform overlooking the downtown Los Angeles skyline, Ali Stroker and Train will perform overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Actor Auli'i Cravalho attends the World Premiere of Disney's "RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET" at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)


The concert is a co-production of Michael Colbert of Capital Concerts and WETA-TV


You can watch the trailer for the PBS special here:


Where to watch

You can watch the show on PBS. NPR stations also will air the event, and it will be streamed on Facebook, YouTube and PBS.org through July 18.

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