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Great Performances

Play On! (#2514)

Picture Harlem during the heyday of swing, then add a little Shakespeare to the songs of Duke Ellington. The result? A new musical that has delighted audiences around the country since its Broadway premiere. Loosely based on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," "Play On!" follows the show-stopping adventures of a young woman posing as a man to pursue her dream of being a songwriter. Taped at the Pasadena Playhouse, written by Cheryl West and directed by Sheldon Epps, the production features such Ellington classics as "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Mood Indigo," "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" and many others. Heading the cast are Natalie Venetia Belcon as Vy (and later Vy-Man), Richard Allen as Rev, Raun Ruffin as Duke and Nikki Crawford as Lady Liv, with orchestrations by Ellington collaborator Luther Henderson and choreography by Ellington's granddaughter Mercedes Ellington. [116 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Information For Teachers

Grade Levels
Curricular Areas
The Arts
Series Length
263 episodes
Average Episode Length
97 minutes
Record Rights
Sch/until 3/24/16; ncc; simul. ;7-day cached rights
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Series Description: GREAT PERFORMANCES, the longest-running performing arts anthology on television, continues to feature the best in the performing arts.

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