Great Performances: Intimate Apparel

(Rochester, NY) — Intimate Apparel, the opera based on Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage's play of the same name, had a great run at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York City from January-March 2022. WXXI is pleased to offer you a front row seat to Intimate Apparel as it makes its television debut as part of PBS’s Great Performances on Friday, September 23, 2022 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV. The Great Performance presentation features Rochester’s own soprano and WXXI Classical’s fill-in host Kearstin Piper Brown, who stars in the lead role as Esther.

Set in turn of the century New York, Great Performances: Intimate Apparel tells the story of Esther, a lonely, single African-American woman who makes her living sewing corsets and ladies’ undergarments. Seeking love and romance, Esther’s warm affection with an Orthodox Jewish fabric seller is socially taboo. So, she embarks on a letter-writing relationship with a mysterious suitor laboring on the Panama Canal, but eventually realizes that only her self-reliance will see her through life’s challenges. Featuring a libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage based on her play and music by Ricky Ian Gordon, the opera is directed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher.

SEE IT ON THE BIG SCREEN AT THE LITTLE THEATRE BEFORE THE TV PREMEIRE! WXXI Classical presents… Great Performances: Intimate Apparel, with Opening Remarks and a Brief Discussion with Kearstin Piper Brown on Wednesday, September 21st. For details and tickets, visit

Photo: Kearstin Piper Brown and Arnold Livingston Geis
Credit: Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes



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