Nick Jonas on WPT

Watch Les Miserables in Concert – Live at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 6 on Wisconsin Public Television.

It’s nearly impossible to have not at least heard of the Jonas Brothers in the past few years. After the rise of Hannah Montana — and in many ways because of it — the Jonas Brothers became one of the biggest pop groups of the decade. So, what does that have to do with Wisconsin Public Television? No, they are not yet appearing on a special episode of Soundstage or Austin City Limits. Instead, it is a special celebration of the 25th anniversary of the musical Les Miserables that brings at least one of the Jonas Brothers to WPT.

Before he was a pop star, Nick Jonas performed in a number of stage plays and musicals, including the role of Gavroche in the final nine months of Les Miserables‘ original Broadway run in 2003. In this special concert from London’s O2 Arena, Jonas takes on the vocal part of Marius.

Watch this special video marketing piece that was created before these groundbreaking concerts were performed in 2010.

A new season and a new site

Watch the premiere of the new season of The Wisconsin Gardener at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 6 on Wisconsin Public Television.

We’ve had a few days where the temperatures have climbed out of the reaches of freezing and with them have come thoughts of the spring to come. That means it is also time to start thinking about our gardens. Join host, producer and Master Gardener Shelley Ryan for the premiere of the new season of The Wisconsin Gardener this weekend. In “Misteaks We Have Maid,” Shelley takes a lighthearted look at gardening mistakes we have all made.

And, take a few moments to venture over to the show’s brand new website. There, you will find recipes, archived video segments on dozens of gardening topics, tips and downloadable video podcasts.

Gov. Scott Walker's Budget Address

Watch coverage of Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Every two years, Wisconsin’s Governor is required to create and present a biennial budget and present it to the legislature to begin what is usually an intense debate and evaluation process. In the midst of the ongoing debate over his budget repair bill, Gov. Scott Walker will bring his budget address to the legislature Tuesday afternoon and WPT will be there to bring you coverage.

Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

Watch American Experience: Triangle Fire at 8:00 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Triangle FireI have always assumed that current workplace standards and policies were created over the years based on a combination of long-term realizations of necessity and major events.  However, I had never heard of the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory that occurred in New York City in March of 1911.  This one tragic event that occurred 100 years ago not only left New York with a whole new set of workplace regulations, but laid the path for our entire country to make employee safety a primary concern.   It’s amazing to think back to how things used to work and compare them to now.  I still find random tornado and fire drills annoying, but I am happy to live in a time where tragedies such as this are few and far between.

Wisconsin's Wolves

Watch Wolves in Wisconsin at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25 on Wisconsin Public Television.

I’m not sure if I should be excited about the return of gray wolves to Wisconsin, or terrified.  In the end, I think I’m a little bit of both.  After all, they are quite an amazing creature and native to Wisconsin.  I remember going to the Milwaukee zoo as a child and getting to the wolf exhibit and always being disappointed because you never actually got to see the wolves.  I could see rhinos, elephants and dozens of other animals from half the world away, but the wolves were always so well hidden.  Now, they number in the hundreds throughout northern Wisconsin and people are seeing them around more and more.  It’s exciting to see this elusive animal making its way back into our state, but I can’t really say that I’d like to see one outside of the zoo.  It’s my understanding that many other people around the state feel the same way, however rare the occurrence may be.  After all, it took over four years using motion sensing cameras just to gather all of the footage to make this documentary.  If you can’t wait until Friday to learn more, you can watch the full documentary here.

Where did we come from?

Watch Nova ScienceNOW: Where Did We Come From at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22 on Wisconsin Public Television.

It’s a question humans have pondered for millennia? Where did we come from? It’s also a question that crosses scientific, cultural and religious debates. In this episode of Nova ScienceNOW, Neil deGrasse Tyson looks at the scientific perspective.

Join him on a journey to meet scientists who are working to uncover the earliest building blocks of life. Along the way, we’ll meet researchers who are using head lice to examine evolutionary patterns and we’ll explore the earliest days of our own solar system for clues to the moment that set life in motion.

Watch a preview of the program below:



A Collection of Selves

Watch Masterpiece Classic “Any Human Heart” at 9:00 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20 on Wisconsin Public Television.  Encore Monday at 10:00 p.m.

The intriguing idea behind this series is that throughout life we become different people.  Who we actually are at the end of it all is a “collection of selves”.  This makes Any Human Heart extremely interesting to me because I couldn’t agree with that theory more.  It’s amazing to look back on life and see the different people you have been.  Every couple years you meet new friends and drift away from the old.  You might change jobs, start listening to an entirely different genre of music or even move to a new place.  And with every change in life, we adapt just a little and become a new person.  Perhaps that’s why the elderly are considered ‘wise’, they have lived so many lives and experienced everything in all of them.

A few good laughs

Watch WPT Home Theater: City Slickers at 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Who would have guessed 20 years ago that a seemingly innocuous comedy about three men trying to cope with midlife crises would become one of Hollywood’s beloved comedies? There is something about City Slickers‘ creative mix of Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Jack Palance and a storyline that brings them all together on a western cattle drive that continues to resonate with audiences. The laughs are hearty and even on repeat viewings, I find myself chuckling at new gags as the men make their way through the harrowing journey. But, one of the keys to City Slickers’ lasting longevity is that beneath the chuckles is a heartfelt story, too.

Enjoy the movie’s original trailer below and then tune in to watch the film Friday night.

Petey Greene's Washington

Watch Independent Lens “Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene” at 9:00 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Petey Greene and Independent Lens… All I can imagine is the movie Private Parts based on the life of Howard Stern, but with higher production value.  After all, Howard did make appearances on the show and when each of them was finally given a break they became icons of their time and changed the standards for radio and TV.  It’s amazing to see one of the people behind it all.  Not only was he a community activist and advocate for much needed change, but he opened the door for future generations of entertainers.  From the streets to the military, from drugs to prison and finally to TV, Petey shed light on the topics everyone ignored and said the things others were too afraid to.  Sufficiently intrigued? I found a little sample and added it below just in case you were still contemplating how to spend your Friday night.

Where no man has gone before

Watch Pioneers of Television: Science Fiction at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15 on Wisconsin Public Television.

It seems like television can take us anywhere. And, there is one genre of creative television that propels viewers into the stratosphere and the far reaches of our minds — science fiction. With this episode of Pioneers of Primetime, producers take us all back to meet the early innovators of the genre. People like Gene Roddenberry and Rod Serling transported viewers with their stories to far-reaching places with unique and mind-bending storylines. Sure, the sets might have been a bit more rudimentary than today’s computer-generated special effects. But, the storiess were some of the most innovative ever written, with characters that are still part of our everyday lexicon. In the interview below, Leonard Nimoy (who played one of those lasting characters, Spock) talks about Star Trek and his earliest science fiction acting job.