Tri-State PBS Stations to Air the Documentary Henry T. Segerstrom: Imagining the Future, About the Retail Revolutionary Who Supported the Arts and Artists on Two Coasts
Television and Broadway star Matthew Morrison narrates the life story of the visionary cultural philanthropist
Premieres Friday, March 31 at 10:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN
Premieres Sunday, April 2 at 10 p.m. on WLIW21
First known for transforming his family’s lima bean fields in Southern California into a world-renowned luxury retail destination, South Coast Plaza, the entrepreneur, philanthropist and cultural leader Henry T. Segerstrom went on to become the founder and supporter of national arts institutions in both California and New York, including Carnegie Hall and Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and a friend to leading artists including Isamu Noguchi, Plácido Domingo, Richard Serra and Valery Gergiev. The documentary Henry T. Segerstrom: Imagining the Future, narrated by television and Broadway star Matthew Morrison, premieres on New York’s public television stations on Friday, March 31 at 10:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN and Sunday, April 2 at 10 p.m. on WLIW21, tracing the life story of a man who transformed both the luxury retail trade and the world of the arts.
As an entrepreneur, Segerstrom pioneered the development of ultra-high-end retail centers by building South Coast Plaza, which is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. He made Nordstrom into a national presence by convincing its owners to expand beyond the Pacific Northwest to South Coast Plaza, and brought exclusive European designers such as Chanel and Hermès to Orange County, creating one of the highest grossing planned retail centers in the United States.
As one of Orange County’s leading philanthropists, Segerstrom came to have an international impact on the arts. Through his leadership and funding and the donation of Segerstrom family land, he spearheaded the creation of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, then oversaw its further expansion into a multi-disciplinary campus now named the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. During his frequent visits to New York City, Segerstrom also became deeply devoted to the history and majesty of Carnegie Hall, giving major financial support to the Carnegie Hall Foundation. In 2009 he established a cross-country partnership between Carnegie Hall and Segerstrom Center for the Arts, resulting in the first presentation of Carnegie Hall’s festival programming outside of New York.
Imagining the Future details Henry Segerstrom’s story through archival footage, his own words and the words of those whose lives he touched. The film features interviews with architect Frank Gehry; American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland; soprano Renée Fleming; television and film director and producer Nigel Lythgoe; and Bruce Nordstrom, former chairman of the retailer Nordstrom, Inc., among others.
“As his wife, I know what a great man he was during his lifetime, and how incomparable and positive his imprimatur was on Orange County,” said Elizabeth Segerstrom, co-managing partner at South Coast Plaza. “It makes me prouder than ever to see others recognize and confirm it.”
Imagining the Future is a PBS SoCal production. Maria Hall-Brown is the Executive Producer.
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.
About PBS SoCal KOCE
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Henry Segerstrom and Isamu Noguchi
Henry and Elizabeth Segerstrom