Center Stage: Women in Music and Dance

March 1, 2021

Women take center stage with special broadcasts in March, Women’s History Month. With sustained excellence over decades, awards and acclaimed performances and concerts throughout their careers, Renée Fleming, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tina Turner are among the best women in music. Also in March, we present a film on dance pioneer Twyla Tharp, who has set choreography to the classic modern work of Philip Glass and the radio anthems of classic rock songwriter Billy Joel. Here are the extraordinary women featured in THIRTEEN’s starry line-up celebrating Women’s History Month.

Tina Turner, Rock n’ Roll, and Pop Star

Tina Turner. Courtesy Mercury Studios.

Queen of rock n’ roll Tina Turner first rocked audiences with her voice and dancing as part of Ike and Tina in the 1960s and 70s. After leaving her abusive husband Ike Turner, she found herself nearly penniless in her late 30s. She rebuilt her career and with Private Dancer (1984), a five-time platinum album with seven hit singles, sealed her status as a pop solo star. Now in her 80s, one of the hardest working women in show business is enjoying retirement in Switzerland and anticipating  an HBO documentary about her life, Tina, premiering March 27.

Tina Turner: One Last Time (new time: Thursday, March 11, 8:30 p.m.), captures the legendary singer’s unforgettable final UK concert at Wembley Stadium in 2000, in which she performed songs from her four-decade career.

Stream Tina Turner: One Last Time with the member benefit THIRTEEN Passport.

Renée Fleming, Soprano

Soprano Renée Fleming has enchanted legions of fans with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. The opera star has inspired a flower (the Renée Fleming iris), a chocolate dessert by Master Chef Daniel Boulud, and a character in Ann Patchett’s novel Bel Canto.

In Renée Fleming in Concert (Friday, March 19, 9 p.m.), the season premiere of Great Performances at the Met, America’s beloved diva performs live in an intimate and iconic American venue — the music salon of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. The program shows off Fleming’s wide repertoire, from favorite arias by Puccini and Massenet to selections by Handel and Korngold.

Twyla Tharp, Dancer and Choreographer

Dance aficionados won’t want to miss the U.S. broadcast premiere of Twyla Moves (Friday, March 26, 9 p.m.), an American Masters film exploring the career and famously rigorous creative process of modern dance pioneer Twyla Tharp. The legendary choreographer shares intimate details behind her trailblazing dances, her cinematic partnership with Miloš Forman (Hair, Amadeus, Ragtime), and her work on Movin’ Out with pop star Billy Joel and other Broadway musicals. Original interviews include ballet dancer Misty Copeland, Billy Joel, and new wave innovator David Byrne.

The documentary includes select performances from Tharp’s iconic works. A notable highlight is Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov rehearsing “Push Comes to Shove” – a dance piece also featured in Baryshnikov By Tharp, the Emmy-winning 1984 Great Performances/Dance in America special that revolutionized the way dance was filmed for television.

We also observe Tharp as she builds a high-profile work from the ground up with dancers Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo, and Maria Khoreva, who rehearse by video conference during the coronavirus pandemic.

Loretta Lynn, Country Music Legend

A profile of and interview with Loretta Lynn in 2019 by PBS NewsHour

Country singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn, now in her late 80s, held center stage for six decades. In 1960 she hit the billboard charts with “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the Loretta Lynn song that became a book, a feature film starring Sissy Spacek, and an indelible part of popular culture. Like so many other songs written by Lynn, the lyrics told the story of her life and spoke to women who struggled to make ends meet. Lynn’s simple, straightforward song stories gave legitimacy to the joys, heartaches, struggles and triumphs.

The country music legend who values her family above all tells her remarkable life story through audio interviews and classic performances in Loretta Lynn: My Story in My Words (Tuesday, March 2, 8 p.m.).

With the member benefit THIRTEEN Passport, stream Loretta Lynn: My Story in My Words and the excellent documentary about her life, American Masters: Still A Mountain Girl (2016).

Dolly Parton, Country and Pop Legend

Above, Dolly Parton interviewed in 2020 by PBS NewsHour about her sustained creativity over decades.

Singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, a Tennessee native, has made headlines recently for both her philanthropic donations and her humble response when Tennessee legislators proposed erecting a statue of her on the capitol grounds: “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.”

Throughout her long country music career and entrepreneurial projects, Parton has remained famously down to earth –– in contrast to her extravagant personal style and fashions. Dolly Parton & Friends: 50 Years at The Opry (Thursday, March 25, 8:30 p.m.) features the superstar delivering her biggest country and crossover hits at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Her special guests are Dierks Bentley, Emmylou Harris, Chris Janson, Toby Keith, Margo Price, and Hank Williams, Jr.

With the member benefit THIRTEEN Passport, you can stream Dolly Parton & Friends: 50 Years at The Opry as well as Dolly Parton: I Will Always Love You.