It's 1927 and Ma Rainey, the "Mother of the Blues," is recording new sides of old favorites in a rundown studio in Chicago. Fiery and determined, Ma Rainey fights to retain control over her music, while her cocky trumpet player Levee dreams of making his own name in the business. More than music goes down in August Wilson's riveting portrayal of rage, racism, self-hatred and exploitation.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom was first presented at the Yale Repertory Theatre, directed by Lloyd Richards, on April 6, 1984. The play opened on Broadway at the Cort Theatre on October 11, 1984, starring Theresa Merritt and Charles S. Dutton, again under the direction of Richards. A Broadway revival starrring Whoopi Goldberg opened at the Royale Theatre on February 6, 2003. On December 18, 2020, a film adaptation of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, directed by George C. Wolfe and starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, premiered on Netflix.
Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
College Theatre / Student