American Playhouse (1981– )
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Andre's Mother 

Three days in the life of the lover, Mother and Grandmother of Andre who has just died of AIDS.


Deborah Reinisch


Terrence McNally (play), Terrence McNally (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »


Episode credited cast:
Richard Thomas ... Cal Porter - Andre's Lover
Sada Thompson ... Katherine Gerard - Andre's Mother
Sylvia Sidney ... Mrs. Downs - Andre's Grandmother
Richard Venture Richard Venture ... Arthur
Haviland Morris ... Penny - Cal's Sister
Conan McCarty Conan McCarty ... Waiter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arthur Hanket Arthur Hanket ... Joel
Kim Shambach Kim Shambach ... Young Mother
Nick Smith Nick Smith ... Guard
Mark Zeisler ... Balloon Vendor


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Cal is a young writer living in New York when he meets and falls in love with Andre, an aspiring actor. Andre's mother visits from Texas, and has a hard time dealing with her son's relationship and lifestyle, despite Cal's efforts to become her friend. Andre's irascible grandmother is more accepting, but her daughter is intransigent in her disapproval. A call from Cal to Andre's mother in the middle of the night is her first indication that her son was dealing with AIDS - and was against letting her know. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

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Did You Know?


Terrence McNally originally wrote Andre's Mother as an 8-minute play which was produced by the Manhattan Theater Club in 1988. See more »


Featured in Every Act of Life (2018) See more »

User Reviews

Historically important but unwatchable
27 September 2014 | by jm10701See all my reviews

What a disappointment! The screenplay is so heavily stilted and pretentious that it crushes its mediocre star and sinks even gifted supporting actors. Not a single word sounds like a real, late-20th-century human being talking, but like 19th-century actors declaiming from a stage badly-written lines they've memorized but don't understand.

Richard Thomas is TERRIBLY miscast in the crucial lead role; his acting skill is far too limited to place such a ponderous burden on his slim shoulders. But even great actors like Sada Thompson and Sylvia Sidney are painfully unbelievable; the dialog is so relentlessly contrived that they can't do much more with it than Thomas does. The director Deborah Reinisch (whoever she is - she's deservedly done only minor TV work since this disaster) does nothing to help the actors cope with the impossible script.

I thank God for Terrence McNally's vital contribution to the recent dramatic changes in gay life in the United States - including this very play - and I love him dearly; but this production is a mess. It's historically important but unwatchable.

It might make for better reading than watching, and it almost surely would be better in live theatre than projected on a screen. It's so plodding and heavy-handed that the 50 minutes seemed like three hours to me.

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Release Date:

7 March 1990 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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