Local CBS Staff Join Hollywood Celebs in ‘The Dream Lives On’ Boston Pops Tribute to Kennedys

Less than an hour before CBS’s Craig Ferguson-hosted 10 PM EDT “Boston Pops Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular” national broadcast on Sunday night, local anchors Jack Williams and Lisa Hughes from Boston’s CBS-owned television station, along with a couple of local actors, took to the stage to narrate the music-accompanied “The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers.” (Video: downloadable from NB twenty second wmv clip of Williams and Hughes in action.)

Introducing the 20-minute production carried by WBZ-TV channel 4 in Boston in its 8-10 PM EDT coverage, Pops conductor Keith Lockhart ludicrously insisted it was “not political” -- even though it takes its name from Ted Kennedy’s very political 2008 Democratic convention speech aimed at motivating Democrats to push for left-wing policies, starting with nationalized health care, and culminates by quoting the call to arms in that address: “If we set our compass true, we will reach our destination. The work begins anew, the hope rises again and the dream lives on!”

That line was read by actor Morgan Freeman Jr. in the original May 18 production at Boston’s Symphony Hall (mov video excerpt) and coinciding with the concert at Boston’s Hatch Shell along the Charles River, the Pops trumpeted:

On July 4, the Boston Pops will release a CD featuring the live recording of the world premiere performances of “The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers,” which took place at Symphony Hall May 18 & 19 with guest narrators Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Cherry Jones...

In liner notes for the CD (PDF), composer Peter Boyer expressed a “deep admiration for the Kennedys” and related:

[I]t was not until I began to research his life for this project that I became more fully aware of the remarkable scope of his legislative achievements, over more than four decades. For me, the most inspiring aspects of the Kennedy brothers’ legacy are a commitment to idealism, and a sense of enduring optimism for our nation and for mankind. Thus the title of the work, The Dream Lives On, is taken from one of Ted Kennedy’s last public speeches, at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

My May 16 NewsBusters post, “Leading Actors Lend Their Voices to Boston Pops' Tribute to the Kennedy Brothers,” described:

A production which “combines quotes from speeches by the Kennedy brothers with original text and video, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral and choral score” so it “pays tribute to the towering achievements and singular spirit epitomized by the Kennedy brothers – the call to public service, drive for social change, and the legacy of optimism for America's future.”...

A promotional video features “Tony Award-winning lyricist Lynn Ahrens” relating the lyrics she created for the concert:

Now on the rain-slicked streets of Boston and across the wind-swept Cape Code sea, over the din of Washington's halls and down the halls of history, their passionate words can still be heard, their highest ideals a clarion call; these three American brothers inspiring the best in us all.

More celebrity performances are to come: Actor Alec Baldwin will take the lead for a July 18 performance at Tanglewood and actor Chris Cooper will narrate a Hyannis Village Green event on August 1.

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