Great Performances

Our Town (1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
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This classic American play, performed on an almost-bare stage, is about the mundane but rather pleasant lives of the Gibbs family, the Webb family, and their neighbors in Grover's Corners, ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Atticus Brady ...
John Griesemer ...
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Lydia Kelly ...
Shane Culkin ...
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Bill Alton ...
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Steven Goldstein ...
Belligerent man
Jeff Weiss ...
Marcell Rosenblatt ...
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Storyline

This classic American play, performed on an almost-bare stage, is about the mundane but rather pleasant lives of the Gibbs family, the Webb family, and their neighbors in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, early in the 20th century. Act 1 presents an ordinary day in the life of the town. Act 2 carries the story forward with the courtship and marriage of George Gibbs and Emily Webb. Act 3 makes everything that has gone before seem pointless, but at the same time, ironically, it validates the earlier scenes. Emily has died while giving birth to her second child. During and after her funeral, she converses with other dead persons in the cemetery. She then gets permission to return briefly to life but finds it's not what she thought it would be. It goes too fast, and people don't have time to look at one another. "This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying." That's how the Stage Manager, an all-knowing character who serves as the ... Written by Wayne 119

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1989 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder opened at Henry Miller's Theater on February 4, 1938, ran for 338 performances and won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1938. See more »

Quotes

George Gibbs: Emily, if I do change, and make a big improvement... could you be- I mean, would you be-?
Emily Webb: I already am, George. I always have been.
George Gibbs: So, I guess this is a pretty important talk we've been having!
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Connections

Referenced in Monster in a Box (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Even better than 1977
16 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As an American literature teacher, I always loved the 1977 public television version of Our Town. Hal Holbrook is just as good as the Stage Manager as he was as Mark Twain, although there are a few places where he sounds like his Mark Twain. Nonetheless, this 1989 version, now offered as a tandem with the earlier version, is absolutely wonderful, just like Emily's moonlight. It is closer to Wilder in that there is just the called-for props. But the emotional edge that Spalding Gray brings to it and the acting across the board is perfect. I know this play backwards and forwards, but I agree with the previous reviewer that the soda fountain scene is sheer emotion and sure to bring some tears to the eye. Sadly, a lot of modern American literature books are no longer including the play in order to be more culturally diverse (with great plays like A Raisin in the Sun), but we need to keep this play alive and use these excellent videos (both offer an interesting comparison for students to consider).


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