Top Picks: Hugh Jackman in 'Oklahoma!,' Arcade Fire's 'Reflektor,' and more

The Smithsonian Channel takes viewers through the entire day of J.F.K.'s assassination, the film 'Rising From Ashes' tells the story of a group of cyclists training for the Olympics, and more top picks.

PBS
Arcade Fire/AP
Courtesy of First Run Features

Oh, what a beautiful morning!

PBS’s “Great Performances” presents the British take on an American classic, Oklahoma!, starring Hugh Jackman, on Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. This production, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, marks the 70th anniversary of the seminal 1943 musical, which ushered in what has been called the golden age of American musicals and became the landmark collaboration of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Remembering J.F.K.

John F. Kennedy’s untimely death contributed to the legend of the man who was the youngest US president. “American Experience” presents JFK as a compelling and objective documentary on the full history of Kennedy as he overcame poor health and long political odds. Historians and experts weigh in on his rapid rise and presidential success – as well as his personal and political failures. It airs on PBS in two parts Nov. 11 and 12. Check local listings for times.

More on J.F.K.

Smithsonian Channel’s The Day Kennedy Died (Nov. 17) takes viewers through the entire day via the eyes of people who were there – the doctor who tried to save Kennedy, the Secret Service agent who agonized he was too late to help, the woman who discovered she had sheltered assassin Lee Harvey Oswald the night before; The Military Channel’s Capturing Oswald (Nov. 12) details what happened after the shooting up until Oswald was captured in a cinema across town 90 minutes later; PBS’s JFK: One PM Central Standard Time (Nov. 13) focuses on the reporting from Dallas and the CBS newsroom in New York from when the shots rang out until Walter Cronkite announced Kennedy’s death on air. Check local listings for times.

Album of the Year

Arcade Fire’s Reflektor is the sound of outsized ambition gloriously realized. The band’s highly anticipated fourth album is a step beyond their Grammy-winning “Suburbs” – and that’s saying something. Though they wear their influences brightly on their sparkly sleeves, they still sound surprisingly original – and on fire. Punchy dance-floor soundscapes, impassioned vocals, and the freshest, wittiest song concepts imaginable make this the album of the year.

Comedy online

SF Sketchfest, San Francisco’s comedy festival, has launched a YouTube channel featuring some of the highlights of its 2013 festival. Clips include comedian Patton Oswalt discussing the making of the “Evil Dead” movies with star Bruce Campbell, and “Pinky and the Brain” stars Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche acting out scenes from various films. Videos from past festivals will be added soon. (Warning: Some sketches include strong language.) Go to http://bit.ly/Sketchfest.

Riding to freedom

Rising from Ashes is an independent film about Team Rwanda, a group of cyclists who undertook a six-year journey to train for and compete in the Olympic Games in London. As they set out against incredible odds, we learn that bicycles have a special meaning for Rwandans – thousands used them to ride to freedom during the murderous rampages in 1994. It’s now available on DVD.

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