Skip to main content
Show Overview

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Story

August Wilson's first major play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom takes place over a single day in 1927, in a Chicago recording studio. Singer Ma Rainey (Whoopi Goldberg) has taken some time off from touring to record several songs for a record company with whom she had previously recorded with financial success. Levee (Charles S. Dutton), the band's talented and temperamental trumpet player, wants to move beyond his role as Ma Rainey's backup and aspires to have his own band someday, while facing the obstacles of developing black music in the white recording industry. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom follows the band's attempts to successfully complete the recording session, despite interpersonal conflicts within the band, Ma Rainey's trouble with the law, and power struggles between Ma and the record company.
Back to Top