American Playhouse: Season 11, Episode 3

Porgy and Bess (6 Oct. 1993)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Drama
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 113 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 4 critic

The story of a disabled beggar in Charleston,S.C. who falls in love with a prostitute, this is the first filmed version of Gershwin's opera which uses Gershwin's own orchestrations and ... See full summary »



(libretto), (based on the play by), 3 more credits »
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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Willard White ...
Cynthia Haymon ...
Gregg Baker ...
Cynthia Clarey ...
Marietta Simpson ...
Paula Ingram ...
Harolyn Blackwell ...
Clara (singing voice)
Bruce Hubbard ...
Jake (singing voice)
Barrington Coleman ...
D. Alonzo Washington ...
Johnny Worthy ...
Robbins (singing voice)
Curtis Watson ...
Mervin Wallace ...


The story of a disabled beggar in Charleston,S.C. who falls in love with a prostitute, this is the first filmed version of Gershwin's opera which uses Gershwin's own orchestrations and practically all of the music, with only one major cut. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

6 October 1993 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Final acting role of Alan Tilvern. See more »


Porgy: [singing] Bess, you is my woman now, You is, you is, And you must sing and dance and play for two instead of one. Want no wrinkle on your brow, No-how, Because the sorrow of the past is all done done, Oh, Bess, my Bess, The real happiness is just begun.
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What You Want With Bess?
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by DuBose Heyward
Sung by Gregg Baker and Cynthia Haymon
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Too Many Transitions
23 April 2005 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

This starts with what is now called the Black experience. From whatever the reality of that was, we (with the active help of bad blacks) have abstracted a highly romanticized notion, in the same manner we've burdened Native Americans.

From both the real and idealized emerged jazz, the real jazz. That was refined and incubated in the larger society to become the basis of American music. Out of that came Gershwin's music.

On that was built a stage show, an opera. From the opera was extended a TeeVee staging. And from that presentation, we are clearly intended to see the original layer, the real Black experience.

Well, that's a lot of translations, and few of them are done artfully and consciously. What we end up with is a jumble of visions, each coherent but chopped into discrete pits and served up as a stew.

You are forced to focus on any one level, be it the staging, the dive into the idealized society, the music, the performance, the images... The only way in my mind to get the best experience from Porgy is without images, because that's the only presentation that can be conceived and delivered as a coherent thing.

These images, this staging, these evocations of a society are rather clever and are interesting enough to keep your eye occupied. But they cannot engage your imagination.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.

3 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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