Court Theatre Opens 55th Season With MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM 9/17-10/18

Court Theatre kicks off its 2009-10 season with August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson. The production will run September 17 - October 18, 2009 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue. The press opening will be Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.

Court Theatre returns to August Wilson's Century Cycle, with the 1920s entry - his only play to be set on the South Side of Chicago. A recording session for blues legend Ma Rainey and her band becomes a battle of wills in the first major Chicago production of Wilson's Tony-nominated tribute to the Blues in over 10 years.

"I'm thrilled by the opportunity to bring Ma Rainey's Black Bottom home to the South Side of Chicago where the play is set," says Director Ron OJ Parson. "More than that, I'm delighted to helm this extraordinary play in my artistic home at Court Theatre. Doing the play here, and with such an exceptionally talented cast, affords us a chance to explore new depths in Wilson's bittersweet homage to the Blues experience."

The cast of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom includes Greta Oglesby (Ma Rainey), AC Smith (Slow Drag), AlFrEd Wilson (Toledo), Cedric Young (Cutler), Thomas J. Cox (Sturdyvant), Stephen Spencer (Irvin), Kristy Johnson (Dussie Mae), James T. Alfred (Levee), Kelvin Roston, Jr. (Sylvester) and David Chrzanowski (Policeman).

The designers are John Culbert (scenic design), Joshua Horvath and Ray Nardelli (sound design), Marc Stubblefield (lighting design), and Jacqueline Firkins (costume design). Ellen Hay is the production stage manager and Jonathan Nook is the assistant stage manager. Anastasia Barron is the Dramaturg.

Performance Schedule and Ticket Information:

Previews are September 17 - September 25, 2009. The opening press performance is on Sunday, September 27, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. Curtain times are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 3 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Ticket prices are $32 to $40 for preview performances; $38 to $56 for regular run performances. Tickets are available at the Box Office, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago; (773) 753-4472 or online at Student and senior discounts available. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets by calling Milan Pejnovich at (773) 834-3243.

Exclusive Corporate Sponsor of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is Hyde Park Bank.

Court Theatre, the professional theatre in residence at the University of Chicago, is located at 5535 S. Ellis Ave. in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. To purchase single tickets for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom or to receive more information, call the Court Theatre Box Office at (773) 753-4472, or visit Court's website at

Court Theatre's 55th Season, under the leadership of Artistic Director Charles Newell, is generously supported by Richard and Barbara Franke, Hyde Park Bank, The Joyce Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Polk Brothers Foundation, Shubert Foundation, and the University of Chicago. Court Theatre is also funded in part by grants from CityArts Program IV of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


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