Freeman ("ER") will star in the title role of the Rainey, known as the "Mother of the Blues," under the direction of Liesl Tommy (Ruined). Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is the first play in Wilson's ten-play Century Cycle, chronicling the African-American experience.
The production, which completes the Huntington's staging of all ten plays, will officially open March 14, 2012, for a run through April 8, 2012.
The cast will also include Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Corey Allen, Jason Bowen, Thomas Derrah, Will LeBow, Timothy J. Smith, G. Valmont Thomas, Glenn Turner and Charles Weldon.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will have scenic design and costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by Marcus Doshi, sound design and music direction by Broken Chord Collective.
According to the Huntington, "A quartet of blues musicians gather in a run-down 1920s Chicago studio waiting for legendary blues singer Ma Rainey to arrive to record new sides of her old favorites. Young, hotheaded trumpeter Levee aspires to a better life for himself and sees the emerging form of the blues as his ticket to fame and fortune. When he clashes with veteran musicians Toledo and Cutler and Ma Rainey spars with her white music producers, generational and racial tensions explode in the powerful and moving drama." Visit Huntington Theatre.