“Mister Rogers & Me” NYC Premiere Set For Party March 22
“Mister Rogers & Me” filmmakers Benjamin and Christofer Wagner will host a “Mister Rogers & Me” NYC Premiere Party, Soundtrack Release & Live-Stream Q&A at Rockwood Music Hall Thursday, March 22 7-9pm. The event is free, and will feature performances of songs from the “Mister Rogers & Me” soundtrack, clips from the film, and a Q&A. The evening will be live streamed on uStream. Questions for the filmmakers can be submitted via Twitter using the hashtag #AskMisterRogers.
The soundtrack to “Mister Rogers & Me” will be available at the event, and in iTunes. As with DVD sales, proceeds will benefit Fred Rogers Center’s efforts to advance the fields of early learning and children’s media by acting as a catalyst for communication, collaboration, and creative change.
The album is comprised if songs by Benjamin Wagner, Casey Shea, Peter Rothbart’s The Poem Adept, Richard Sancho, and pianist Chris LoPresto. Wagner and LoPresto will be on-hand with bassist Tony Maceli, drummer Ryan Vaughn and guitarist Chris Abad.
In September, 2001, American Television Icon Mister Rogers told MTV-producer Benjamin Wagner to “Spread the message” that “deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” On March 20, that message will be writ large.
The feature-length documentary, “Mister Rogers & Me,” will be released on PBS DVD and iTunes March 20, 2012, in honor of America’s Favorite Neighbor’s birthday. Copies of “Mister Rogers & Me” on DVD are available for pre-order now at ShopPBS.org. DVD Special features include a Paley Center For Media Q&A featuring Christofer and Benjamin Wagner; full-length interviews with Tim Russert and Susan Stamberg; and director’s commentary with the brothers.
Mister Rogers summered in a modest house on a quiet corner of Nantucket Island. MTV producer Benjamin Wagner’s mother rented the cottage next door. On the afternoon of their first meeting, “America’s Favorite Neighbor” asked the young journalist about his job. Wagner — a PBS mind in a jump-cut, sound-bit MTV world — expressed enthusiasm tempered with an iota of ambivalence. Mister Rogers said warmly, “I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” One year and many “deep and simple” conversations later, Rogers whispered, “Spread the message, Benjamin!”
After Rogers’ death in 2003, Wagner and his brother, Christofer, set out to learn more about the man himself and discover what he meant by “deep and simple.” As Benjamin and Christofer learned more about Mister Rogers, their travels led them to conversations with “Meet the Press” anchor (and Nantucket neighbor) Tim Russert; “Arthur” creator Marc Brown; NPR correspondent (and sometimes “Neighborhood” co-host) Susan Stamberg; “Neighborhood” puppeteer and Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood founder, Dr. Susan Linn; and many other neighbors and friends of Mister Rogers.
In the end, the brothers come to know more than just the man and his luminous legacy. Their personal journey unearths the roots of Mister Rogers’ values, unmasks the forces acting against depth and simplicity, and helps them to develop the means to lead deeper, simpler lives.
An abbreviated, 58-minute broadcast version of the film will air on 27 PBS affiliates ARKA (Arkansas), CONN (Connecticut), HAWA (Hawaii), IDAH (Idaho), KAET (Arizona), KBYU (Utah), KCTS (Washington), KENT (Kentucky), KERA (Texas), KRMA (Colorado), KWSU (Washington), MONT (Montana), NCAR (North Carolina), NDAK (North Dakota), NEWH (New Hampshire), SDAK (South Dakota), WCNY (New York), WCVE (Virginia), WFYI (Indiana), WGBH (Massachussetts), WKYU (Kentucky), WMVS (Wisconsin), WPSU (Pennsylvania, WPTD (Ohio), WQLN (Pennsylvania), WUSF (Florida) and WXXI (New York). Check local listings for airtimes.
The NYC Premiere Party marks the last in a series of “Mister Rogers & Me” events throughout March, including screenings at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum (featuring Maureen Orth, Susan Stamberg and Amy Hollingsworth) on March 18, The Los Angeles Paley Center (featuring Davy Rothbart and Tim Madigan) on March 19, and at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh on March 20.