Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

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Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a play by August Wilson (1945-2005)[1].

The original text

Set in Chicago in the 1920s it deals with issues of race, art, religion and the historic exploitation of black recording artists by white producers.

The play's title refers to a song of the same title by Ma Rainey referring to the "Black Bottom dance".

The play had its first staged reading in 1982 at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Connecticut. then opened at the Yale Repertory Theater in April 1984, before moving to the Cort Theatre, New York.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1992: Performed at the National Arts Festival, directed by Richard Schechner. The producer and lighting designer was Michael Maxwell, Designer Sarah Roberts, Stage manager Robyn Dale, assisted by Bongane Motsepe. The cast included Warrick Grier, Michael Huff, Mxolisi Norman, Eugene Madonsela, Zane Meas, Sophie Mgcina as Ma Rainey, Baby Cele, Ignatius Qulu, Thomas Hall.


1992 National Arts Festival Souvenir Programme, p. 51.

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