Original Dreamgirls Star Takes on Ma Rainey in Hollywood, Jan. 29-March 7

News   Original Dreamgirls Star Takes on Ma Rainey in Hollywood, Jan. 29-March 7
Loretta Devine — an original star of Broadway's Dreamgirls and television's "Boston Public" — will star in the title role of August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom in Hollywood.
Loretta Devine
Loretta Devine

Claude Purdy directs the production which is slated to play Los Angeles' Lillian Theater, Jan. 29-March 7. RKA Productions produces in association with MFP Management.

James Avery — known for his turn on TV's "The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air" joins Devine in the cast which also includes Russell Andrews, Joseph Ruskin, Mel Winkler, Bill Lee Brown, Alan Naggar, Nefertiri and Al D. Freeman.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom finds a full-throated blues belter at a recording session with her band in 1927's Chicago. The story explores issues of race and its effects on the various musicians. The play was Wilson's first to see Broadway.

Katherine Bostic who recently served as musical director on Gem of the Ocean is music coordinator for this production. The design team includes Joel Daavid (set) and Lisa Tomczeszyn (costume).

August Wilson is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1990). Known for his decade plays that explore the African-American experience for the last century, his vast body of work includes Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney and King Hedley II. Playwright Wilson made his acting debut last May performing an autobiographical one-man show How I Learned What I Learned at Seattle Repertory Theatre and his latest stageplay, Gem of the Ocean premiered to acclaim at Los Angeles's Mark Taper Forum in July 2003.

Devine, who plays volatile teacher Marla Hendricks, appeared in the original cast of Dreamgirls on Broadway and in the 1977 revival of Hair. Her screen credits include "The Colored Museum," Arthur Miller's "The American Clock," "Waiting To Exhale," "I Am Sam" and "The Preacher's Wife."

Tickets to Ma Rainey at the Lillian Theater, 1076 N. Lillian Way in Hollywood, CA are available by calling (323) 960-7735.

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