Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the third chapter in August Wilson’s ten-play Century Cycle that chronicles the lives of African-Americans through the twentieth century.
1927. At a recording studio in the heart of the city a group of musicians and a record producer anxiously await the entrance of legendary blues singer Ma Rainey (don’t dare compare her to Bessie Smith), known both for her music and her attitude. What happens that day is a fiery battle of wills as heart-strung as the blues itself. The third installment of August Wilson’s ‘Century Cycle’, which chronicles the lives of African-Americans through the twentieth century, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is set amid the initial rumblings of the Chicago Black Renaissance, an era that nurtured the extraordinary artists Langston Hughes, Louis Armstrong, and Margaret Walker.