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A Capitol Fourth 2013

Airs Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 8 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. on KPBS TV (8 p.m. on KPBS Radio)

The all-star cast for

Credit: Courtesy of Capital Concerts. Darren Criss image: Julien Hekimian/Getty Images Entertainment

Above: The all-star cast for "A Capitol Fourth" includes (l-r) Scotty McCreery; Jackie Evancho; Candice Glover; Tom Bergeron; Darren Criss and Megan Hilty.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Capital Concerts/PBS

Superstar Barry Manilow first performed on "A Capitol Fourth" in 2009 and returns to headline this year’s event.

Photo credit: Courtesy of © 2013 Joan Marcus

The cast of the Broadway hit "Motown The Musical" performs in this star-spangled celebration: (L to R at Center) Charl Brown (Smokey Robinson), Brandon Victor Dixon (Berry Gordy), Valisia LeKai LeKae (Dianna Ross), Bryan Terrell Clark (Marvin Gaye) and cast.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Capital Concerts/PBS

Five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams conducts music from the Oscar-winning blockbuster "Lincoln" in this year's concert.

Test Your Knowledge of the 4th

The story of our nation's founding is filled with larger-than-life personalities and fascinating events. Try taking one of these fun, short quizzes to test your knowledge of the 4th — then and now.

Photographing Fireworks

Get tips on photographing fireworks displays from Smithsonian Institution photographers.

America’s favorite host, two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality Tom Bergeron (“Dancing With the Stars”) returns to host "A Capitol Fourth," starring music legend Barry Manilow, who is back by popular demand following his powerful debut performance on the show in 2009.

Broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, the biggest and brightest birthday party in the country will also feature performances by Candice Glover, the Season 12 winner of “American Idol”; country music artist Scotty McCreery (winner of “American Idol”); actor and singer Darren Criss (“Glee”); musical prodigy and classical crossover star Jackie Evancho; Broadway and television star Megan Hilty (“Smash”); Broadway’s new hit "Motown The Musical."

Five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams conducts music from the Oscar-winning blockbuster "Lincoln"; with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly.

Grammy and Golden Globe Award-winning musician and songwriter Neil Diamond will nationally debut “Freedom Song (They’ll Never Take Us Down),” inspired by the Boston Marathon bombing.

In celebration of America’s 237th birthday, the show will be capped off with a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” complete with live cannon fire provided by The United States Army Presidential Salute Battery, an audience favorite and now an “A Capitol Fourth” tradition.

Also participating in the event will be The Choral Arts Society of Washington, along with The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, Members of the Armed Forces carrying the State and Territorial flags and the Armed Forces Color Guard provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

With 20 cameras positioned around the city, viewers at home are front and center for the greatest display of fireworks anywhere in the nation.

"A Capitol Fourth" also airs on National Public Radio (KPBS 89.5 at 8 p.m.) and to our troops around the world on the American Forces Network.

"A Capitol Fourth" is on Facebook, and you can follow @July4thPBS on Twitter.

Neil Diamond Performs Freedom Song (2013)

Celebrate Live with Megan Hilty!

The 2013 star-spangled July 4th celebration will be broadcast live from the U.S. Capitol and features rousing performances by Broadway and television singer/dancer/actress Megan Hilty. In 2012 Megan lit up the stage with a patriotic medley that wowed the crowd.

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