Porgy: A Gullah Version (1997) | ETV Classics

Porgy and Bess was originally created by George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward in 1935, based on Heyward’s 1925 novel about a disabled black man and his community in the slums of Charleston. 

The opera brought new attention to its classically trained African American cast and is considered one of the icons of American opera, but also has a long history of controversy around racial stereotyping. 

In 1990, translator and linguist Virginia Mixson Geraty released an adaptation of the opera to Gullah, the language Porgy and Bess would have spoken, to raise awareness of the endangered language and add authenticity. 

SCETV filmed an abridged production of this version in 1997, presented by Jean Brown Pinkston.