Director Phylicia Rashad on the first day of rehearsal for August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Director Phylicia Rashad on the first day of rehearsal for August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

*Rehearsals have begun for August Wilson’s blazing masterpiece “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” which begins previews September 1, opens September 11 and continues through October 16, 2016, at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum.

Phylicia Rashad, who directed Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at the Taper in 2013, directs this groundbreaking play which depicts the racism and exploitation in the music industry through a 1927 recording session in Chicago with a legendary blues singer. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is inspired by the real-life Gertrude “Ma” Rainey.

The cast features, in alphabetical order, Greg Bryan, Keith David, Jason Dirden, Damon Gupton, Matthew Henerson, Nija Okoro, Lamar Richardson, Ed Swidey, Glynn Turman and Lillias White.

Scenic design is by John Iacovelli, costume design is by Emilio Sosa, lighting design is by Elizabeth Harper, sound design is by Dan Moses

“Extraordinary! Ma Rainey rides on the exultant notes of the blues!” – Jack Kroll, Newsweek

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