The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306 and Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About both debut tonight

Tonight, PBS airs Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, a documentary that follows the man PBS says was “a master of the Broadway musical” who “was one of the greatest ballet choreographers this country has ever produced.” American Masters executive producer Susan Lacy said, “Robbins’ remarkable body of work forever redefined dance and musical theater for a contemporary audience. The revival of West Side Story on Broadway this winter just validates his lasting importance, his lasting impression. We are thrilled to air this film in tribute to Robbins’ genius, celebrating the 90th anniversary of his birth.”

Also tonight, and on an entirely different subject, Adam Pertofsky’s Oscar-nominated short documentary The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306 debuts on HBO2, and repeats throughout the month. The 32-minute film focuses on Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles’ memory of the day Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, as Kyles was the only person standing on the balcony of the Memphis hotel with King.

HBO says the film was “[s]hot on location in Memphis at several historic sites, including the Lorraine Motel,” and focuses in part on why King was in Memphis and at the hotel. Executive producer Margaret Hyde said, “When most people think of Martin Luther King, they think of the ‘I have a dream’ speech in Washington, or the conspiracy theories surrounding his death. But few are aware of the role the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike played during his final days. I thought it was important to tell that story through the words of a man who knew Dr. King so well and has devoted such a large part of his life to keeping his vision alive.”

Here’s the trailer, which at at two minutes and 15 seconds itself, is more than 1/16th of the film:

The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306 [HBO]
Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About [PBS]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.