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August Wilson's Tour-de-Force MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM Comes to Life at 1st Stage

From the extraordinary mind of Pultizer, Tony, and Academy Award recognized playwright, August Wilson comes one of America's most renowned stories of race and music. Inspired by the real life of legendary blues singer, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a powerful installment in August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning Century Cycle- 10 illustrious plays that explore the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th century.

A Tony Award Nominee for "Best Play," The New York Times raves that Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is "Extraordinary! [Wilson] writes with compassion, raucous humor and penetrating wisdom." Ma Rainey's Black Bottom transports audience to the Chicago recording studio in 1927 with Ma Rainey and her band to watch as the story unravels to its shocking conclusion. Don't miss this theatrical tour-de-force by one of America's greatest playwrights.

The 1st Stage production of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by August Wilson features Thomascena Nelson as Ma Rainey, Michael Anthony Williams as Toledo, William T. Newman, Jr. as Cutler, William Aitken as Sturdyvant, Tracey Farrar as Dussie Mae, Jason B. McIntosh as Slow Drag, Tendo Nsubuga as Sylvester, Joe Palka as Irvin, Clayton Pelham, Jr. as Levee, and Joshua Witt as the Policeman. Deidra LaWan Starnes directs the production at 1st Stage.

The design team includes: scenic design by Kathryn Kawecki, costume design by Debra Kim Sivigny, lighting design by John D. Alexander, sound design by Reid May, and properties design by Gadgetgrlz (Kay Rzasa and Deb Crerie).

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will run at 1st Stage from June 1-25 with show times as follows: Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. General admission tickets are $30. Senior (65+) tickets are $27. Student and military tickets are $15. Tickets, Subscriptions, and Flex Passes can be purchased online at or by calling the 1st Stage box office at 703-854-1856.

The run time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is the final play in 1st Stage's Season 9 main stage line-up. This summer, 1st Stage is introducing the first ever Logan Festival of Solo Performance to the DC region. Join the theater from July 6-16, 2017 for a festival of some of this country's most celebrated solo performances including Hick: A Love Story by Terry Baum, The Gun Show by E.M. Lewis, and Empanada for a Dream by Juan Francisco Villa.

1st Stage Theatre is an award-winning professional theatre in the heart of Tysons Corner, Virginia. The company serves as a cultural hub for the community producing first-rate theatrical productions as well as hosting professional musicians, orchestras, and visual artists, and providing educational opportunities for the community. Awards include the American Theatre Wing National Theatre Company award, Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play in 2016 and Outstanding Director of a Musical and Outstanding Lead Actor in 2015, and the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company in 2010. 1st Stage is a member of the Catalogue for Philanthropy class of 2016-2017. In September 2016, The Wall Street Journal called 1st Stage "one of America's most impressive smaller regional companies" and named 1st Stage productions of Floyd Collins and Lobby Hero among their list of "Best Theater of 2016."

For more information, visit 1st Stage online at or follow the theatre on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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