August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Come and Gone" at Shore

The Theatre Program at Shore Cultural Centre will continue its presentation of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle with a readers theatre production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the third play in Wilson’s highly acclaimed work, Monday, November 27 at 7:00pm on the stage of Shore Auditorium.  The first and second plays of the cycle were presented by Shore in September and October.

Wilson’s American Century Cycle is a series of ten plays illuminating the joys and struggles of the African-American experience in the United States during the 20th century—decade by decade.  Considered to be Wilson’s greatest contribution to American theatre, all but one of the plays is set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh.  The Cycle includes such well known plays as Fences (recently a movie starring Denzel Washington), The Piano Lesson and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Ma Rainey is the only play in the cycle that is not set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh.  Instead the setting is Chicago in 1927, at the beginning of the blues period in that city.  The play explores the many purposes of creative expression and the exploitation of African American artists in the 20th century. 

Terrence Spivey, Artistic Associate of the Theatre Program at Shore and former Artistic Director at Karamu Playhouse, will be directing Ma Rainey.  Spivey has directed many Cleveland area productions of Wilson’s plays such as FencesJoe Turner’s Come and GoneRadio Golf, and the autobiographical How I Learned What I Learned at Shore Cultural Centre.  “It is our goal at Shore to present many of the plays in Wilson’s American Century Cycle.  A readers series presentation of his cycle has never been done in Northeast Ohio and only a few done in this country since Wilson's death. The backing and encouragement of the Wilson estate makes this an important theatrical event, particularly in Cleveland. ”

General Admission tickets for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom are $12 and available on line at and at the Shore administrative office, Room 143.   Call 216-289-8578 for more information. 

Chris Cipriani

Director of Programming and Marketing for Shore Cultural Centre

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 1:17 PM, 11.03.2017