August Wilson's 20th Century: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Sunday, March 09, 2008 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Chicago blues legend Ma Rainey sets out to record her latest album in the only one of Wilson's 10 plays set beyond Pittsburgh. As generational and racial tensions escalate among her band and producers, the studio soon explodes in violence and tragedy.

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About

"One of the most important voices in the American theater"
--The New York Times

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1920s)
Directed by Lou Bellamy

Chicago blues legend Ma Rainey sets out to record her latest album in the only one of Wilson's 10 plays set beyond Pittsburgh. As generational and racial tensions escalate among her band and producers, the studio soon explodes in violence and tragedy.
--Running Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes, with one intermission--

CASTING
Sturdyvant: Raynor Scheine
Irvin: Jerry Whiddon
Cutler: Harry Lennix
Toledo: Roger Robinson
Slow Drag: James A. Williams
Levee: Anthony Mackie
Ma Rainey: Ebony Jo-Ann
Policeman: Jeff Allin
Dussie Mae: Rosalyn Coleman
Sylvester: Eric Berryman

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An American icon, August Wilson depicted the human condition like no other playwright of his time. His legacy lives on through his crowning achievement: a cycle of 10 plays chronicling the African American experience, each set in a different decade of the 20th century. Crafted over nearly 25 years, these works garnered Wilson myriad accolades, including a Tony Award and two Pulitzer Prizes. Bringing them together for the first time ever, the Kennedy Center presents staged readings of all 10 of Wilson's masterpieces, frequently dubbed "The Pittsburgh Cycle," as all but one are grounded in the city of his youth.

More than 30 stars of stage and screen join Artistic Director Kenny Leon and six other acclaimed directors for this historic month-long celebration (March 4–April 6, 2008). Complemented with costumes, lighting, and scenery, the plays will be performed in chronological order--collectively revealing Wilson's sweeping vision of the challenge and glory of being black in America.

Artists

Watch and Listen



Acting for August



Contemporary Playwrights: August Wilson Part 1 of 10



Contemporary Playwrights: August Wilson Part 10 of 10



Contemporary Playwrights: August Wilson Part 2 of 10



Contemporary Playwrights: August Wilson Part 4 of 10



Contemporary Playwrights: August Wilson Part 5 of 10



Contemporary Playwrights: August Wilson Part 7 of 10



Contemporary Playwrights: August Wilson Part 8 of 10



Contemporary Playwrights: August Wilson Part 9 of 10



Start with Your Grandmother



Telling History



The Greatest Ever



The Words of August Wilson

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All events and artists subject to change without prior notice.