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BWW Review: BNS Productions Encore Presentation: MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM at Duke Energy Theater

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"You've Seen The Rest...Now See The Best!"

BWW Review: BNS Productions Encore Presentation:  MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM at Duke Energy Theater

Encore! Encore! Encore! Yes, live theater is BACK in a mighty way. Recently, I had a chance to catch one of the performances of August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, produced by the multi- award-winning playwright, Rory D. Sheriff and directed by the phenomenal award-winning actor, director, and Central Piedmont College professor, Dr. Corlis Hayes, and I tell you that it shattered my expectations. As a playwright/director, I am not just interested in the mere performance of a work...I am extremely critical of the technical components such as lighting, stage design, audio, etc. I could not find anything out of order in any of those areas. I can emphatically say that this was the BEST presentation of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom that I've ever seen. To me, it was even better that the movie directed by my favorite actor, Denzel Washington, that starred two of my favorite actors, Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman.

What makes this depiction stand out among the rest? Well, I am glad you asked...one person, Sharlata "ShiningShar" Marlin. Baabbeee (In my New Orleans dialect), she is the truth! I truly felt like I was in the presence of the influential blues singer, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey. Shar's transformation was incredible. What an amazing talent who definitely belong on the BIG STAGE of Broadway. I can't wait to see her at the TOP and I predict that it won't be long before she is internationally known.

Truthfully...the ENTIRE CAST was phenomenal, you all should take a bow. Honorable mention to Jonavan Adams, in the role of Levee...this was definitely a Tony-award winning performance. The role of Levee is near and dear to my heart because it is one of the last roles performed by the late Chadwick Boseman before he died of colon cancer last August. To witness Jonavan deliver such a stellar performance that, in my opinion, was comparative to Chadwick's, is such a huge testament to his talent. Sending shout-outs to three of BNS Productions' regular troupe members: Timothy Bradley, (Cutler), Jermaine Gamble (Toledo) and Graham Williams (Slow Drag), each gave excellent performances as "Ma's" dedicated band members. But the audience favorite and show-stealer was Toy Reynolds "Phoenix" Johnson. She flirted, batted her long lashes, shook her shimmy, and swayed her hips at anyone in eyeshot...male or female. She nailed that role.

If anyone missed the previous performances, August 11-22, there is an encore performance scheduled this Sunday, September 12, at 4:00pm, Duke Energy Theater, 345 N. College Street, Charlotte, North Carolina. Unfortunately, this will end BNS Productions' long-term residency at the Duke Energy Theater because Spirit Square will officially close. I say to Spirit Square as they say in show biz, "Thanks For The Memories!" However, it is certainly not the end of BNS Productions...prepare to see Black Nativity at the Knight Theater, in December.

For information on BNS Productions, visit website: http://www.brandnewsheriff.com/

BWW Review: BNS Productions Encore Presentation:  MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM at Duke Energy Theater
Sharlata Marlin (Ma Rainey)
BWW Review: BNS Productions Encore Presentation:  MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM at Duke Energy Theater
Phoenix Johnson As Dussie Mae
BWW Review: BNS Productions Encore Presentation:  MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM at Duke Energy Theater
'Shar' Marlin Is truly a "Star" as "Ma" Rainey.

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