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A Capitol Fourth 2009

Airs Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: With extended coverage of the most dazzling display of fireworks in the country, the skyline of the nation's capital will come alive with vibrant and booming pyrotechnics, set against silhouettes of national landmarks: the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.

On July 4th, there's no place like the nation's capital for America's biggest birthday party broadcast. Featuring the most spectacular fireworks display anywhere in the nation, the 29th annual broadcast of "A Capitol Fourth" airs live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The star-spangled party features special performances by some of the country's best-known and award-winning musical artists in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Erich Kunzel.

Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Jimmy Smits returns to host the biggest and brightest birthday party in the country, featuring for the first time ever, Barry Manilow, who will both open and close the concert broadcast with a stirring medley of hits and patriotic classics along with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Choral Arts Society of Washington. Smits and Manilow will be joined by the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, international pop sensation Natasha Bedingfield, the Tony and Grammy Award-winning cast of Jersey Boys, multi Grammy Award-nominee Michael Feinstein and acclaimed classical pianist Andrew von Oeyen. This star-studded cast will light up the stage on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol for the 29th annual "A Capitol Fourth" celebration featuring unrivaled musical performances with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of America's prince of pops Erich Kunzel. As a special treat for the entire family, the Muppets of "Sesame Street" will be on hand to celebrate America's 233rd birthday.

Test your knowledge of the 4th and get some tips on photographing fireworks displays from Smithsonian Institution photographers online.