MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM Announced At Writers Theatre
Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, continues its 2018/19 season with August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, directed by Writers Theatre Resident Director Ron OJ Parson. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom runs February 6 - March 17, 2019 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. The Press Opening is Wednesday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m.
This visceral American classic serves as the 1920s chapter of August Wilson's epic American Century Cycle. What begins as a routine recording session becomes more strained as tensions rise between the members of a blues band and the owners of the recording studio. The white producers mean to exploit the talents of the band-especially the gifted and impulsive Levee-but when Ma insists on having things her way, tensions are enflamed and the play builds to an unexpected and searing climax.
Inspired by the real-life Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, this groundbreaking work is the only play by American icon August Wilson to be set in Chicago. Directed by Writers Theatre Resident Director Ron OJ Parson (East Texas Hot Links, The Caretaker, The Old Settler), Ma Rainey will envelop you in a vision of the Roaring Twenties defined by Wilson's remarkably beautiful language and an extraordinary dramatic conflict between ambition, desperation and love for The Blues.
"Ron OJ Parson's productions of plays by August Wilson have been some of the theatre-going highlights of my life," said Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. "When the opportunity to present this play at Writers Theatre came about, I leapt at the chance. Ron has assembled a brilliant cast, all of whom are passionate about exploring this magnificent and towering piece of writing as staged by arguably the nation's foremost interpreter of Mr. Wilson's work. As Ron has proved time and time again, he has an unwavering ability to direct his productions straight into the audience's hearts, minds and souls. Writers Theatre audiences have been fortunate to experience the full extent of his gifts with stagings like Harold Pinter's The Caretaker and Eugene Lee's East Texas Hot Links. Taking full advantage of the Nichols Theatre's ability to encompass both epic and intimate canvases simultaneously, Ron's design team draws us dramatically into a 1920's impromptu recording studio where the explosive events of the play will reach their searing climax. Although there are a hundred years between the imagined events of Wilson's play and the present day, the themes and circumstances feel terrifyingly familiar."
The cast includes: David Alan Anderson (Toledo), Thomas J. Cox (Sturdyvant), Felicia P. Fields (Ma Rainey), Jalen Gilbert (Sylvester), Tiffany Renee Johnson (Dussie Mae), Blake Montgomery (Policeman), Peter Moore (Irvin), Kelvin Roston, Jr. (Levee), A.C. Smith (Slow Drag), and Alfred H. Wilson (Cutler).
The creative team includes: Todd Rosenthal (scenic), Myrna Colley-Lee (costumes), Jared Gooding (lighting), Ray Nardelli (sound), Regina Victor (dramaturg), Joe Faust (fight director), and Sasha Smith (intimacy director). The production stage manager is Rebecca Pechter.
Tickets are priced $35 - $80. Subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased online at www.writerstheatre.org, by phone at 847-242-6000 or in person at the box office at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.