Part of the late Wilson cycle of plays charting the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th century, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is set in the 1920s — his only play to be set on the South Side of Chicago. "A recording session for blues legend Ma Rainey and her band becomes a battle of wills in the first major Chicago production of Wilson's Tony-nominated tribute to the Blues in over 10 years," according to Court notes.
The cast includes Greta Oglesby — who played Caroline in the Guthrie Theater's recent Caroline, or Change — as Ma Rainey; plus AC Smith (Slow Drag), Alfred Wilson (Toledo), Cedric Young (Cutler), Thomas J. Cox (Sturdyvant), Stephen Spencer (Irvin), Kristy Johnson (Dussie Mae), James T. Alfred (Levee), Kelvin Roston, Jr. (Sylvester) and David Chrzanowski (Policeman). Opening is Sept. 27.
"I'm thrilled by the opportunity to bring Ma Rainey's Black Bottom home to the South Side of Chicago where the play is set," Parson stated. "More than that, I'm delighted to helm this extraordinary play in my artistic home at Court Theatre. Doing the play here, and with such an exceptionally talented cast, affords us a chance to explore new depths in Wilson’s bittersweet homage to the Blues experience."
The designers are John Culbert (scenic design), Joshua Horvath and Ray Nardelli (sound design), Marc Stubblefield (lighting design) and Jacqueline Firkins (costume design). Ellen Hay is the production stage manager, and Jonathan Nook is the assistant stage manager. Anastasia Barron is the dramaturg.
Court Theatre is located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago. For more information call (773) 753-4472 or visit www.CourtTheatre.org.