Complete casting has been announced for the upcoming revival of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom starring Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton.
Joining Goldberg and Dutton for the August Wilson production — which begins a 23-week limited engagement on Jan. 17, 2003 — will be Tony Cucci (Policeman), George DiCenzo (Sturdyvant), Carl Gordon (Cutler), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Slow Drag), Anthony Mackie (Sylvester), Heather Alicia Simms (Dussie Mae), Joseph Siravo (Irvin) and Dick Anthony Williams (Toledo). The official opening is scheduled for Feb. 6, and the play will run through Sunday, June 29.
Goldberg will star as blues singer Ma Rainey in the revival, which will be directed by Marion McClinton, and Dutton will repeat the role he created in the show's original run, trumpet player Levee. The creative team comprises David Gallo (scenic design), Toni-Leslie James (costume design), Donald Holder (lighting design) and Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound design).
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, August Wilson's first work to arrive on Broadway, is a powerful account of a blues singer and the effect racism has on her life and career, and how anger bubbles inside musicians who are part of her world. Wilson followed Ma Rainey's with Fences, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars and King Hedley II.
From Jan. 17 through Feb. 8, the performance schedule for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is Monday and Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM, Tuesday evenings at 7 PM and Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2 PM. Beginning Feb. 11, the drama will play Tuesday evenings at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2 PM and Sunday matinees at 3 PM. (There will be no matinee performance on Wednesday, Jan. 22.) Tickets for the production, priced between $50 and $80, will be available beginning Dec. 16 by calling Telecharge at (212) 239-6200. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will play the Royale Theatre, which is located in New York City at 242 West 45th Street.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom opened at Broadway's Cort Theatre in Oct. 1984, playing 276 performances before closing in June 1985. Featuring direction by Lloyd Richards, the play cast Theresa Merritt in the title role. The remainder of the company featured John Carpenter, Lou Criscuolo, Scott Davenport-Richards, Charles S. Dutton, Leonard Jackson, Robert Judd, Christopher Loomis, Aleta Mitchell and Joe Senaca. Nominated for a Tony Award, Ma Rainey's won the 1984 New York Drama Critics Circle Award.
Whoopi Goldberg made her Broadway debut in her own one-woman show, Whoopi Goldberg. She later replaced Nathan Lane in the hit revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and she is currently represented on Broadway as one of the producers of the Tony winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. An Academy Award winner for her role in "Ghost," Goldberg's numerous other screen credits include "The Color Purple," "Sister Act," "Boys on the Side" and "Star Trek: Nemesis."
Charles S. Dutton received a 1985 Tony Award nomination for his work in the original production of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; his other nomination came for another Wilson play, The Piano Lesson. Perhaps best known for his TV series "Roc," Dutton's other screen credits include roles in "No Mercy," "A Low Down Dirty Shame," "Nick of Time," "Blind Faith" and "Black Dog."