Liesl Tommy (Ruined) directs Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, which 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 run through April 8.
In addition to Freeman ("ER"), the cast also includes 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 has 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."
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