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 »

Director:

Kirk Browning

Writer:

Thornton Wilder (play)
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Spalding Gray ... Stage Manager
James Rebhorn ... Dr. Gibbs
Atticus Brady Atticus Brady ... Joe Crowell / Si Crowell
John Griesemer John Griesemer ... Howie Newsome
Frances Conroy ... Mrs. Gibbs
Roberta Maxwell ... Mrs. Webb
Eric Stoltz ... George Gibbs
Lydia Kelly Lydia Kelly ... Rebecca Gibbs
Shane Culkin Shane Culkin ... Wally Webb
Penelope Ann Miller ... Emily Webb
Bill Alton Bill Alton ... Prof. Willard
Peter Maloney ... Mr. Webb
Steven Goldstein ... Belligerent man
Jeff Weiss Jeff Weiss ... Simon Stimson
Marcell Rosenblatt Marcell Rosenblatt ... Mrs. Soames
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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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Genres:

Music

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This filmed production originally opened at the Lyceum Theater in New York on December 4, 1988 and ran for 136 performances See more »

Quotes

Emily: My, isn't the moonlight terrible?
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Connections

Remade as Our Town (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Even better than 1977
16 May 2007 | by davidrpowellSee 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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