Mary Merkel-Hess’ Double Green (2008), Paper, reed and paint, from Craft in America: Nature Courtesy of Mary Merkel-Hess

April 2017

A century ago this month, the United States entered World War I, then optimistically referred to it as the war to end all wars. It was also known as The Great War, which is the title of a three-night documentary series airing 8 to 10 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, April 10 through 12, on American Experience. The series concentrates on how the war changed the country, as shown through the experiences of nurses, journalists, aviators, and infantrymen.

Jennifer White in a still from Great Performances: Young Men Credit Sophie Harris-Taylor

A World War I infantryman’s experiences are at the heart of Young Men, a feature-length ballet filmed in Northern France. Choreographed by Iván Pérez to a score by English folk rock musician Keaton Henson for the BalletBoyz dance company, the ballet premiered in London at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in January 2015. The work premieres on Great Performances on Friday, April 7, at 8 p.m.




Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 24, and we’re showing two strikingly different approaches to remembering. On Monday, April 17, at 11 p.m., Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust is the story of recovered and restored instruments and the long-lost musicians who played them, often during the most horrific moments of the Second World War. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Adrien Brody, the film tells how master violin maker Amnon Weinstein made it his mission to rescue the violins, some of which were found in pieces. They later returned to concert play in a 2015 performance by the Cleveland Orchestra featuring virtuoso Shlomo Mintz. NPT and the Gordon Jewish Community Center will host a free screening and discussion of Violins of Hope, 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5, at the GJCC. Information is available at

A still from Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust Credit Debra Yasinow

Comics have been mocking Hitler since before the U.S. entered World War II—Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940) is one example. Mel Brooks has continued that tradition and is one of the comics and thinkers debating whether the Holocaust should be off limits in The Last Laugh, airing Monday, April 24, at 9 p.m. on Independent Lens. “The Holocaust is not funny; survival is,” Rob Reiner says in the film, which also features Carl Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Gilbert Gottfried, and many others.


The Reel South series of documentaries about Southern culture continues Tuesdays at 11 p.m. We’re also hosting a free screening of one of those films, 120 Days, at Casa Azafrán on Thursday, April 6. For more information, see

Craft in America: Nature looks at how five artists interpret the natural world on Friday, April 21, at 8 p.m. One of them, Patrick Dougherty, will be familiar to Nashville Arts readers through his 2014 Little Bitty Pretty One installation at Cheekwood. The other artists in the episode are Mary Merkel-Hess (fiber), Michelle Holzapfel (wood), Preston Singletary (glass), and Catherine Alice Michaelis (books).

Some of the greatest masterworks of the 20th century were created along the Côte d’Azur. Globe Trekker visits Arles, Aix, Nice, and other spots frequented by Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and others in Art Trails of the French Riviera airing Saturday, April 29, at 11 p.m. The show also highlights a gallery with works by Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, and Raoul Dufy.

Spring into action this month and support NPT! Simply go to and click the Donate button. Encore presentations of many of our shows and program theme nights are broadcast on NPT2, our secondary channel.



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