Based on Davis' 1961 play Purlie Victorious (which was later translated into the 1963 film Gone Are the Days! and which included all of the original Broadway cast, including Ruby Dee, Alan Alda, Beah Richards, and Godfrey Cambridge), Purlie is a musical with a book by Ossie Davis, Philip Rose, and Peter Udell, lyrics by Udell, and music by Gary Geld. It won two Tony Awards and was also nominated for Best Musical.
This 1981 television adaptation is directed by Rudi Goldman and stars Broadway cast members Guillaume, Moore, Hemsley, and Hopkins, with Brandon Maggart as Cotchipee, Clarice Taylor as Idilla, and Don Scardino as Charlie. The production won a CableACE Award.