Last week, I was invited to attend August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Mark Taper Forum and I jumped at the chance because my hubby is a longtime August Wilson fan. He thoroughly enjoys the work of this legendary playwright who honestly and candidly chronicles the plight of African Americans in the 20th century.
August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom takes place in Chicago 1927 during a recording session at a white-owned studio with the legendary African American singer Ma Rainey, who was inspired by the real-life Mother of the Blues Gertrude “Ma” Rainey. This powerful play centers around racism and exploitation in the music industry during the 1920’s. Specifically, this play centers around Ma and her band and the struggles they have among themselves well as with the white establishment.
What’s so brilliant about the writing of August Wilson is that he makes you feel. He takes you on a journey that allows you to intensely immerse yourself in the emotional struggles among these characters. It’s a vicarious experience that gives you an insightful perspective of racism, judgement and the struggle for opportunity during this contentious time. August’s writing helps you feel like you are a member of Ma’s band and that’s powerful theater-going.
August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is directed by Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad and is filled with a powerhouse cast led by Lillias White (Broadway’s Fela! and Once on This Island), Keith David (OWN’s Greenleaf, Broadway’s Jelly’s Last Jam), and Glynn Turman (HBO’s The Wire, Showtime’s House of Lies) all actor’s returning to the Taper from Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be at the Mark Taper Forum in Downtown Los Angeles now through October 16, 2016