Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company To Produce August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom For the Highmark Blues And Heritage Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Pittsburgh, PA) August 10, 2018 – Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company alongside the August Wilson Center-African American Cultural Center will produce August Wilson’s classic, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for the first annual Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival.

The play takes place during a single afternoon in a recording studio with the famous blues singer, Ma Rainey. It is the first of Wilson’s ten-play American Century Cycle which is now considered a staple of American theater.

Businesswoman and entertainer Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, known as the Mother of the Blues, was the most popular blues singer/songwriter of the 1920s. She is considered to be the first woman to introduce Blues into her performances.

“The Blues is an integral part of August Wilson’s legacy, a legacy we proudly continue through our programming at the August Wilson Center- African American Cultural Center,” said Janis Burley Wilson, August Wilson Center CEO, and president. “With a new event like the Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival, it was only right that we take the opportunity to showcase how big of a role the Blues played in Wilson’s life, and what better way to tell that story than through Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company.”

This special production, directed by Mark Clayton Southers, will feature Vanessa German as Ma Rainey. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with the August Wilson Center to the stage and bring Mr. Wilson’s words to life,” said Southers.  Proceeds from the Saturday, September 15, 2 pm matinee will benefit Vanessa German’s “Art House” in Homewood.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be presented September 14 through October 1, 2018, at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company, 937 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh’s downtown Cultural District. Performances are 8 pm. on Thursday and Friday; 2 pm & 8 pm on Saturday and 3 pm Sunday.  Tickets are $35, $20 at the door for students with I.D.; with no ticketing fees or surcharges. Tickets are available for purchase at www.pghplaywrights.org.

Support for Ma Rainey is provided by The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative, Regional Asset District, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Richard King Mellon Foundation, August Wilson Center-African American Cultural Center, The Opportunity Fund, and Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund.



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