Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

This show has now closed, please visit our London Shows page for a full list of current productions.

About the Show Less...

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom accounts for the internal battle of wills which the legendary “Mother of the Blues” waged for control of her music, its identity, and her struggle for self-determination in the face of overwhelming odds. Read More >

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom accounts for the internal battle of wills which the legendary “Mother of the Blues” waged for control of her music, its identity, and her struggle for self-determination in the face of overwhelming odds.

Starring Sharon D Clarke as Ma Rainey herself, the play bursts with the sound and soul of her music, and sets her in Chicago, 1927, at the recording studio where this contention reached its climax.

Using every trick in the book she has accumulated over years of ill-treatment, legal scraps and rip-off deals, Ma Rainey fights to retain control of her music against the desires of her record producers. Above all, the song that bears her name, ‘Black Bottom’, must be recorded her way.

But danger is posed by the sheer ambition of the band’s swaggering young trumpeter, Levee, who plans on catapulting the band beyond the clutches of Ma Rainey into the jazz age.

A powerful account of self-determination and drive.

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Important Dates & Timing

Previews From: 26/01/2016

Opening Night: 02/02/2016

Closing Night: 18/05/2016

Running time: 2h35

Security note: For your comfort and security, you may be subject to additional checks on your visit to London theatres. Please contact the venue for more information.

Cast & Creative

Cast

Teri Ann Bobb-Baxter, Sharon D Clarke, Ricardo Coke-Thomas, John Paul Connolly, Jermaine Dominique, Clint Dyer, O-T Fagbenle, Stephen Fawkes, Tamara Lawrance, Tunji Lucas, Stuart McQuarrie, Lucian Msatami, Kadeem Pearse, Giles Terera, Lucy Vandi

Creative

Director - Dominic Cooke

Producer - National Theatre

Designer - Ultz (Associate: Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailer)

Lighting Designer - Charles Balfour

Movement Director - Coral Messam

Sound - Paul Arditti (Associate: Giles Thomas)

Author - August Wilson

Music By - Tim Sutton