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CARRIER BACKSTORY PROGRAM Regents Circle ($7,500 - $13,999) Carrier Corporation Syracuse Campus-Community Entrepreneurship Initiative, funded by the Kauffman Foundation Syracuse University GEAR-UP Playwrights Circle ($5,000 - $7,499) KARE Foundation Directors Circle ($1,500 - $2,799) Time Warner Cable Lockheed Martin Employees Federated Fund

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BANK OF AMERICA CHILDREN’S TOUR Founders Circle ($14,000 - $24,999) Bank of America Producers Circle ($2,800 - $4,999) Lockheed Martin Employees Federated Fund Directors Circle ($1,500 - $2,799) Wegmans Benefactors ($1,000 - $1,499) Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

CHASE YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL Founders Circle ($14,000 - $24,999) Chase

ARTS EMERGING Founders Circle ($14,000 - $24,999) Partnership for Better Education Regents Circle ($7,500 - $13,999) NYS Assembly through the office of William Magnarelli Directors Circle ($1,500 - $2,799) Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

2008 - 2009 Educational Outreach Corporate Sponsors Since 1849 National Grid and its predecessor companies have been part of the Syracuse community, helping to meet the energy needs of over two million Upstate New York customers. We are proud to contribute to the quality of life through the energy we deliver and through the many ways we give back to the communities we serve.

2008 - 2009 Syracuse Stage Season Sponsors

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM STUDY GUIDE CONTENTS Timothy Bond Producing Artistic Director Jeffrey Woodward Managing Director

__ 820 E. Genesee Street Syracuse, NY 13210 Artistic Office (315) 443 - 4008 Educational Outreach (315) 443 - 1150 (315) 442 - 7755 Box Office (315) 443 - 3275 Group Sales and Matinees (315) 443 - 9844

4. Planning Your Visit 5. Theatre & Education 6. Elements of Theatre 7. General Questions 8. Production Information 9. Plot & Characters 10. Meet the Playwright 11. From Page to Stage 12. Historical Context 14. Additional Resources 15. Educational Outreach © 2008 Syracuse Stage Educational Outreach Chief Editor Lauren Unbekant Edited by Nichole Gantshar and Adam Zurbruegg Interior Design & Layout by Adam Zurbruegg Cover Design by Campdesign

___ www.syracusestage.org ___ Syracuse Stage is Central New York’s premiere professional theatre. Founded as a not-for-profit theatre in 1974, Stage has produced more than 220 plays in 34 seasons including numerous world and American premieres. Each season, upwards of 90,000 patrons enjoy an exciting mix of comedies, dramas and musicals featuring the finest professional theatre artists. Stage attracts leading designers, directors, and performers from New York and across the country. These visiting artists are supported by a full-time and seasonal staff of artisans, technicians, and administrators. Syracuse Stage is a member of The League of Resident Theatres (LORT,) Theatre Communications Group (TCG,) the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, the Arts & Cultural Leadership Alliance (ACLA,) the East Genesee Regent Association, and the Partnership for Better Education.

EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH AT SYRACUSE STAGE Syracuse Stage is committed to providing students with rich theatre experiences that connect to and reveal what it is to be human. Research shows that students who participate in or are exposed to the arts show higher academic achievement, stronger self-esteem, and an improved ability to plan and work toward a future goal. Last season more than 35,000 students from 24 counties attended or participated in in-depth integrated arts partnerships with Syracuse Stage. For more information, call (315) 443-1150 or (315) 442-7755. The Bank of America CHILDREN’S TOUR brings high-energy, interactive, and culturally diverse performances to elementary school audiences. The Carrier BACKSTORY! Program brings history to life, as professional actors portray historical figures in classrooms and other venues. Lockheed Martin PROJECT BLUEPRINT merges scientific discovery and the arts, as an actor portraying a scientist/mathematician introduces students to the connections between scientific discovery and the arts. artsEMERGING takes high school students on an in-depth exploration of a mainstage play using a multi-cultural, multi-arts lens. The Chase YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL challenges high school students to submit original plays for a chance to see their work performed at Syracuse Stage.

Planning Your Visit Teachers! Please speak with your students about the role of the audience in watching a live performance. The following are some helpful suggestions and guidelines to make the day more enjoyable.

GIVE your students plenty of time to arrive, find their seats, and get situated. We ask that you arrive 30 minutes prior to the performance. Our student matinees begin promptly at 10:30AM. Latecomers are seated at the discretion of House Management. BUSSES not staying should load and unload on East Genesee Street, where bagged meters will indicate bus-only parking. Please do not park in the Centro Bus Stop. When you exit the bus, have your group stay together inside the main lobby. USHERS will escort you to your seats - we do not use tickets for our student matinees. Students will be asked to fill in the rows and not move around once seated. We request that teachers and chaperones distribute themselves throughout the students and not sit together. Remember, we need to seat 500 people as quickly as possible, so your help is greatly appreciated. BACKPACKS, cameras, food, and drinks are not allowed into the theatre. We do not have storage facilities for these items, so please leave them at school or on the bus. PHOTOGRAPHS or video taken with a camera or cell phone are illegal, disruptive, and sometimes dangerous to the performers. All cameras or other recording devices are prohibited and will be confiscated. SNACKS and soda will be sold whenever possible during intermission, at a cost of $1. Food and drinks are to be consumed in the lobby, as they are not allowed into the theatre. RESTROOMS are located in the main lobby. We ask that students use the facilities only before the show and during intermission, and not leave during the show.

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The Audience’s Role A performance needs an audience. It is as much a part of the theatre event as actors, designers, technicians, and crew. Each playwright invites you into the world he/she has created - but this world is different than television or movies. The actors need your responses (laughter and applause) but conversations, cell phones, and other distractions will disrupt that world. If any student becomes disruptive to the point of interference with the performers or audience, a chaperone will be asked to remove that student. If you play your part well, the actors can do the same, and all will enjoy the show!

Theatre & Education

“Theatre brings life to life.”

-Zelda Fichandler


hen the first cave-dweller got up to tell a story, theatre began. Almost every culture has some sort of live performance tradition to tell stories. Television and film may have diminished the desire for access to theatre, but they have not diminished the importance. Live theatre gives each audience member an opportunity to connect with the peformers in a way he or she never could with Tom Cruise or Lindsay Lohan. The emotions can be more intense because the events are happening right in front of the audience.


n the classroom, theatre can be used in a variety of ways. In many respects the teacher is much like an actor on stage - with an audience, a script (lesson plan,) props (visual aids,) and scenery (the classroom setting.) Both theatre and teaching rely on the interplay between performer and audience. From this perspective, all of what can be taught can be taught theatrically. Young children can create a pretend bank to learn about money and mathematics. Older students may be asked to act out scenes from a play or novel. Theatre provides both an opportunity to teach , and the means to do so.


ringing your students to productions at Syracuse Stage, and utilizing this study guide to integrate the play into your lesson plans, fulfills elements of the New York State core requirements. We know that as educators, you are more qualified to determine how our plays and study guides blend with your goals and requirements. We hope that we can help you to discover possibilities spanning many disciplines. As you bring your students to the shows, you may want them to examine not merely the thematic elements of the play, but also how production elements explore these themes. Everything you see on the stage has been created specifically for this production. There are no standard sets for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, no rules for costuming Crowns. Our designers meet with our directors months before rehearsals start, and shows are built to their specifications, which are in line with their vision of the work. Exploring design elements with your students is a way of opening the door to the production they will be seeing. We’ll begin with activites and questioning that can be applied to any play, and then move into details regarding specific plays. So, without further ado, welcome to Syracuse Stage... and enjoy the show!

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Elements of Theatre Elements of Visual Art: Any piece of visual art (including scenery, costumes, etc.) contain the following ‘elements of art.’

Theatre usually engages many forms of art including: -Writing -Visual/Design • Scenery & Props • Costumes • Sound • Lighting • Casting -Music -Dance/Movement



Line Shape Form

Principles of Design: Art (or any of the elements listed above) can be examined further through the ‘principles of design.’ Balance Proportion Rhythm Emphasis Unity

How have the designers utilized these elements and principles?


Why have they done so?

- Character WHO are the characters and what is their relationship to each other? - Plot/Story WHAT is the story line? What happened before the play started? What do the characters want? What will they do to get it? What do they stand to gain or lose? - Setting WHERE does the story take place? How does this affect the characters’ behavior? How does it affect the plot? How does it affect the design? - Time WHEN does the story take place? What year is it? What season? What time of day? How does this affect the characters, plot and design of the play?

Other Elements to Explore: Conflict/Resolution, Action, Improvisation, Non-verbal communication, Staging, Humor, Realism and other styles, Metaphor, Language, Tone, Pattern and repetition, Emotion, Point of view.

What are the trying to convey visually? What would be other options? CREATING QUESTIONS FOR EXPLORATION Creating an open-ended question using an element for exploration (otherwise known as a “line of inquiry”) can help students make discoveries about a piece of theatre and its relevance to their lives. A line of inquiry is also useful for kinesthetic activities (on-your-feet exercises.) Examples of Lines of Inquiry: 1. How does an actor create a character using his/her body? How would you imply setting using your body? 2. How might a director create a sense of realism on stage? Why might you not want to use realism? 3. How does an actor use the language of gesture to convey emotion/feeling? 4. How does the use of music convey the mood of a scene?

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Space Color Texture


General Questions These questions were designed to promote classroom discussion of any play. Use these questions as a model to help you design your own analysis techniques.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

How does the play start? What does the playwright do to set the scene? How are the characters introduced? What other techniques does the play use to help you jump into the story? Who is the main character? What does he/she want? (“Objective”) How will he/she get it? (“Actions/Tactics”) What is stopping him/her? (“Obstacles”) How does the character change throughout the play? Why is the play set in the time period that it is? How would the play be different if the time period were different? Is there a character who helps the main character come to decisions and changes? How? Opposition? Reflection? Is there a villain/antagonist in the play? Does there need to be good character and a bad one? What makes a play relevant? What makes it important? What are the elements that make this piece suited for the stage, as opposed to film, television, or a novel?

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Michael G. Keck

William Bloodgood

Helen Q. Huang




Darren W. McCroom

Jonathan Herter

Stuart Plymesser


Alan Filderman Timothy Bond

Producing Artistic Director

Jeffrey Woodward Managing Director

Presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. EXCLUSIVE SPONSOR


Plot & Characters


Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom begins in Chicago, 1927, as Mel Sturdyvant’s record company prepares to make an album with the talented singer Ma Rainey. As Sturdyvant and Ma Rainey’s manager, Irvin, prepare for the sessions, Sturdyvant worries about Ma Rainey’s prima donna behavior.

The first act highlights the members of Ma Rainey’s band, who joke, banter, and argue about topics ranging from music to American society. The 1920’s were a time when the dynamics between races in America were changing. Tension and claims of exploitation underscored the entertainment industry, law enforcement, and society as a whole, and the members of Ma Rainey’s band each give voice to a different perspective on the issues of the time. Tensions continue to rise in the second act, culminating in a catastrophic final note.

THE CHARACTERS Ma Rainey The title character is based on the real ‘Mother of the Blues’ Gertrude Rainey. In the play, she demands the final say in all recording decisions. This insistence is born out of her view of the white-dominated music industry: “They don’t care nothing about me,” she says. “All they want is my voice.” Cutler [Guitar/Trombone/Band Leader] Cutler “has all the qualities of a loner except the introspection.” He believes that black people must do whatever is necessary to survive, as revealed during his story about Reverend Gates’ humiliation. Slow Drag [Bass] A consumate musician who regards his music with respect and professionalism. Critics have written that his playing “reflects the fundamental rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic nuances found in African music [...] an Americanized version of the African.” Levee [Trumpet/Arrangements] The youngest member of the band, Levee prides himself on his appearance. He aspires to lead his own band and record his own songs. His attitude about race is more bitter than that of the others, as explained by the terrifyingly tragic story of his mother’s rape. Toledo [Piano] The most philosophical of the band, Toledo’s temperament and ideals contrast with Levee’s. Levee is literal; Toledo speaks in abstract terms. Levee is fiery; Toledo is detached. He discusses concepts such as ‘racial memory,’ but often misapplies his knowledge.

Sylvester Brown Ma Rainey’s nephew — or so we are led to believe. He is young, built like an “Arkansas fullback,” and he stutters. Dussie Mae Wearing a fur jacket and a tight yellow dress, Dussie Mae is described as having a “sensual energy which seems to flow from her.” Essentially a ‘groupie,’ her loyalty is to Ma Rainey until she learns that Levee intends to form his own band. Irvin Ma Rainey’s white agent who “prides himself on his knowledge of blacks and his ability to deal with them.” He is skilled at manipulating people, and is primarily motivated by money. Mel Sturdyvant The white owner of the recording studio. Like Irvin, Sturdyvant is motivated by money, and both represent the exploitation of black performers by white executives in the entertainment industry of the time. Policeman The third white character in the play, the Policeman brings Ma Rainey to the studio after a controversial automobile accident, but is content to leave after Irvin bribes him with cash.


Main Source: www.answers.com

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Meet the Playwright August Wilson (1935 - 2005) by Sarah Powers Courtesy of The McCarter Theatre Center

A ugust Wilson was born Frederick August Kittel in

1945 in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, where he lived for 33 years. Wilson was the fourth of six children of a white German father and African-American mother. He began his writing career as a poet in the 1960’s and 70’s, while also involved in the civil rights movement and working odd jobs. In 1965 he bought his first typewriter with $20 his sister paid him to write a college term paper. Hoping to use theatre to raise African-American cultural consciousness, he co-founded Black Horizons, a community theatre in Pittsburgh, with Rob Penny in 1968. After producing and directing African-American plays at Black Horizons, Wilson began writing his own plays in the early 70’s. In 1976, the Kuntu Theater staged his play, The Homecoming, and in 1981 his first professionally produced play, a satirical Western called Black Bart and the Sacred Hills, was staged at the Penumbra Theater. Wilson’s breakthrough came in 1982, when the National Playwrights Conference at the O’Neill Theatre Center accepted Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for a workshop. The play opened on Broadway in 1984, and in 1985 it earned Wilson his first New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Even as Ma Rainey was enjoying its success, Wilson was planning further installments in what would become a ten-play cycle exploring the AfricanAmerican experience in the 20th century, with a play for each decade. Fences, Wilson’s second play to move to Broadway, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and also set a new Broadway record for the highest-grossing non-musical, bringing in $11 million in its first year, 1987. Seven more plays have since followed, joining Ma Rainey, Fences, and Jitney, which was written in 1979 but later revised. Radio Golf, which completes the

cycle as the 1990’s play, premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre in April, 2005, and finished a run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles on September 18 [Radio Golf also enjoyed a run on Broadway in 2007.] With the completion of his extraordinarily ambitious ten-play cycle, Wilson has secured his place as one of the most important American playwrights of his generation. Broadway’s Virginia Theatre [was] renamed for him in 2005, marking the first time a Broadway theatre has been named for an AfricanAmerican. In August of 2005, he announced that he had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. “It’s not like poker, you can’t throw your hand in,” Wilson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’ve lived a blessed life. I’m ready.” August Wilson died October 2, 2005. Wilson’s Cycle Plays 1900’s Gem of the Ocean 1910’s

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

1920’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 1930’s The Piano Lesson 1940’s Seven Guitars 1950’s Fences 1960’s Two Trains Running 1970’s Jitney

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1980’s King Hedley II 1990’s Radio Golf

From Page to Stage Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: An Introduction August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, his first play in a ten-play cycle, each chronicling a decade in the African-American experience [see p. 10], was first performed at the Yale Repertory Theater in 1984, though Wilson began writing the play in 1976 after listening to the blues for more than a decade. Set in a Chicago recording studio in 1927, the two-act drama tells the story of a recording session with blues legend Ma Rainey, her band members, and the white producer and agent who made themselves wealthy through Rainey’s recordings.

The play explores race relations between blacks and whites in 1920s America and the AfricanAmerican search for identity. The title comes from the song of the same name, which is at the heart of a major conflict in the play. Of particular note is Wilson’s character, Levee, who literally embodies the aspirations and disappointments of black males during this era and, arguably, today. Wilson pits Levee against Rainey, the band members, and the whites, examining various stripes of inter- and intra-racial conflict. Partly inspired by the plays of Amiri Baraka, who warned black writers to keep their characters faithful to the black experience, Wilson finished the first version of the play in 1981 and had it accepted by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference in the summer of 1982. In 1985, the play opened on Broadway at the Cort Theater, and it subsequently captured a slew of awards including the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is considered Wilson’s first major play and helped to cement his reputation as an important American playwright.

Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey appears in the touring show The Rabbit Foot Minstrels in this undated photo.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: Introduction.” Drama for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 15. Detroit: Gale, 1998. eNotes.com. January 2006. 7 July 2008. <http://www.enotes.com/ma-raineys/introduction>.

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Historical Context Race & Renaissance in the 1920’s A Roaring Decade When the dust settled after the first World War, America emerged greatly changed. For the first time in its history, the United States was a leader in the world economy. Assembly line techniques maximized efficiency, and corporate consolidation maximized profits. America abandoned its previous isolationist policies in favor of international trade, and quickly reaped the benefits. The economy was booming, and Americans found themselves with more time and money at their disposal. The result was an explosion of culture: literature, film, music, and visual art. With advances in technology and transportation, media could reach national audiences from a few epicenters like Hollywood, New York (especially its Harlem neighborhood) and Chicago, where Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is set. A Rich Community At the turn of the century, new opportunities for education and employment were available to African-Americans - not in the economically sagging rural south, but in the industrial cities of the north. Hundreds of thousands of black Americans moved north in a phenomenon now called ‘The Great Migration.’ The new black middle class that emerged was educated, socially conscious, and culturally diverse, and many creative and forwardthinking individuals established vibrant communities of artistic expression and political activism. The Politics of Race Though many new opportunities were available to African Americans at the time, racism and segregation still created a climate of racial inequality. Several activists and political leaders emerged during this time, each with different perspectives on the issue of inequality. The three most prominent, and most applicable to Ma Rainey, were Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Marcus Garvey. In the simplest terms, Booker T. Washington proposed that racism could be overcome with patience if each individual strived for intellectual, cultural, and personal improvement. By slowly elevating African Americans’ status in society, he argued, whites would have no choice but to accept them as equals. W.E.B. DuBois, and many others, felt that Washington was too willing to accept racism and put the whole burden on black shoulders. DuBois advocated that the ‘talented tenth,’ the most educated and gifted members of the black community, demand equal rights immediately — through public protests, boycotts, and rallies. In 1909, DuBois co-founded the NAACP, and was an active leader in the group for the next 24 years. A third activist, Marcus Garvey, founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association. After seeing countless race riots, lynchings, and other injustices, Garvey had doubts that integration could ever fully be achieved. He advocated that African Americans unite by embracing their historical and cultural roots, and encouraged people to return to Africa in hopes of establishing a great autonomous nation.

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Main Sources: http://www.issues-views.com/index.php/sect/1000/article/999 http://encarta.msn.com Photos: Library of Congress Digital Archive

Historical Context The Birth of Jazz “Jazz washes away the dust of every day life.” - Art Blakely Jazz music as we know it was born amid the Roaring Twenties — a volatile time for music, literature, and society as a whole. Almost simultaneously, new sounds began to rise up from Harlem, New Orleans, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Chicago. These new and distinctly American tones underscored the decade and laid a foundation for nearly every musical genre to emerge in its wake. Though the word ‘jazz’ first appeared in print as early as 1913, the earliest jazz ensembles were essentially small, stationary marching bands playing good ol’ homestyle Dixieland music. To gain its trademark grit, jazz needed to fuse with another evolving style: the blues. The blues grew out of the soulful spirituals generally associated with slavery. Abolition had come only fifty-some years prior, and the weight of slavery still weighed heavily on the adolescent nation. As the blues grew in popularity thanks to W.C. Handy, Robert Johnson and others, whiteowned record companies began to see the marketability of these black artists. Major labels created subsidiary ‘race record’ labels, giving black musicians access to a national audience but often unfairly exploiting their talents.

Robert Johnson, who claimed he sold his soul for fame and talent.

This new corporate influence on the blues, along with the changing times, re-shaped the genre. Once, male artists reigned supreme: gravely-voiced guitarists in dusty suits and fedoras. By the 1920’s, it was female artists like Bessie Smith and the real-life Gertrude “Ma” Rainey who dominated the scene. They were backed by larger ensembles featuring horn players who had cut their teeth on the earliest jazz records. Pianists joined the mix and incorporated the ragtime influences of Scott Joplin and others. Jazz was born, and soon became the beat to which the nation tapped its feet. Bessie Smith, shown here in 1936.

“Jazz does not belong to one race or culture, but it is a gift that America has given the world.” -Ahmad Alaadeen

Jazz would continue to evolve throughout the century. It fathered the swing era before reuniting with its old friend the blues to, with the help of country-western and soul music, create rock and roll. Today there are many styles of jazz: cool jazz, soft jazz, vocal jazz, progressive, free-form, be-bop, fusion, latin, and more. Yet, for many musicians, historians, and fans, no era of jazz compares to the ‘golden age’ of the 1920’s. Main Sources: www.jazzinamerica.org www.apassion4jazz.net www.allaboutjazz.com Photos: Library of Congress Digital Archive

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Additional Resources August Wilson & Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom August Wilson.net [www.augustwilson.net] Biographical Timeline [http://www.post-gazette.com/magazine/19991216awtimeline9.asp] NYTimes Obituary [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/03/theater/newsandfeatures/03wilson.html] Original Broadway Playbill [http://www.playbill.com/features/article/85765.html] Real People Mentioned in the Play Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9542413 http://www.redhotjazz.com/rainey.html ‘Bessie’ is singer Bessie Smith, who toured with Ma Rainey before achieving remarkable success. www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ7S2w6v2No www.pbs.org/jazz/biography/artist_id_smith_bessie.htm Buddy Bolden was a cornetist, blues player and founding father of jazz in New Orleans. www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPvwjSU02zY www.pbs.org/jazz/biography/artist_id_bolden_buddy.htm www.nps.gov/jazz/historyculture/bolden.htm King Oliver was a horn player originally from New Orleans who later played in Chicago. www.pbs.org/jazz/biography/artist_id_oliver_joe_king.htm www.vh1.com/artists/az/king_oliver/bio.jhtml Reverend JM Gates was a pastor from Atlanta, GA who also had a gospel/blues singing career www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3luGrVKy1Q (Audio of a Gates sermon against Adolf Hitler, augmented with video as a piece of Holocaust memorial media) Jazz & Blues Jazz in America [www.jazzinamerica.org] Jazzitude [www.jazzitude.com] All About Jazz [www.allaboutjazz.com] Links to More Jazz Resources [http://www.visarkiv.se/links/Jazz_History.htm A Short History of the Blues [http://www.history-of-rock.com/blues.htm] The History of Blues Music [http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/bluesmusic/a/bluesmusic.htm] History & Politics of the 1920s The Harlem Renaissance [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761566483/harlem_renaissance.html] PBS - The Harlem Renaissance [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/february98/harlem_2-20.html] American Cultural History - The 1920s [http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/decade20.html] DuBois vs. Washington [http://www.issues-views.com/index.php/sect/1000/article/999] Marcus Garvey [http://www.marcusgarvey.com/]

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yracuse Stage is committed to providing students with rich theatre experiences that connect to and reveal what it is to be human. Research shows that children who participate in or are exposed to the arts show higher academic achievement, stronger self-esteem, and improved ability to plan and work towards a future goal.

Many students in our community have their first taste of live theatre through Syracuse Stage’s outreach programs. Last season more than 35,000 students from across New York State attended or participated in the Bank of America Children’s Tour, Carrier Backstory, Lockheed Martin Project Blueprint, artsEMERGING, the Chase Young Playwrights Festival, and our Student Matinee Program. We gratefully acknowledge the many corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose donations support our commitment to in-depth arts education for our community. The listing below respresents support towards last season’s 2007-2008 programming. Bank of America - Bank of America Children’s Tour Bristol-Myers Squibb Company - artsEMERGING Carrier Corporation - Carrier Backstory Excellus BlueCross BlueShield - Bank of America Children’s Tour Grandma Brown Foundation - Student Matinee Program Chase - Chase Young Playwrights Festival KARE Foundation - Carrier Backstory Lockheed Martin Employees Federated Fund - Carrier Backstory, Bank of America Children’s Tour Lockheed Martin MS2 - Lockheed Martin Project Blueprint National Grid - Student Matinee Program NYS Assembly through the office of William Magnarelli - artsEMERGING Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office - artsEMERGING Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation - Student Matinee Program Syracuse Police Department - artsEMERGING Syracuse University Division of Student Affairs - Student Matinee Program Syracuse University GEAR-UP - Carrier Backstory Target - Student Matinee Program Time Warner Cable - Carrier Backstory US Department of Justice - artsEMERGING Wegmans - Bank of America Children’s Tour

Actor Rob North signing autographs after a performance of The Mischief Makers.

Teachers from the Syracuse City School District receiving professional development from teaching artist Reenah Golden.

1,500 students from the Syracuse City School District attended matinee performances of The Bomb-itty of Errors.


come dream with uS

August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Directed by Timothy Bond September 9 – October 4

The award-winning music-filled play that captured the attention of the theatre world and launched August Wilson’s remarkable career.

Up By Bridget Carpenter Directed by Penny Metropulos February 25 – March 15 East Coast Premiere

A soaring new play about family and following your dreams . . . even if it takes 42 balloons tied to a lawn chair.

Music and Mischief for the Holidays

Godspell The Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Family Holiday Series; A collaboration between Syracuse Stage and SU Drama

Conceived and Directed by Ping Chong October 14 - November 2 World Premiere

By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett Newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman Directed by Timothy Bond March 31 – May 3

Conceived and Originally Directed by John-Michael Tebelak Music and New Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz Directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj Choreographed by Anthony Salatino November 25 – December 28

Life stories of real Syracuse residents carry us around the globe and bring us home with a more complete understanding of how we’re all connected.

A 13-year-old girl finds hope in the in face evil and teaches us all an unforgettable lesson in courage. A new adaptation of an American classic.

Filled with popular hit songs and based on the Gospel of St. Matthew, this energetic musical is a celebration of worldwide community.

Putting it Together


The Santaland Diaries

Tales from the Salt City

A Musical Review Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Directed & Choreographed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj January 27 - February 15

At a Manhattan cocktail party, a cast of five uses Sondheim’s exquisite songs to examine the ups and downs of two relationships. Includes Sondheim’s greatest songs – and some never heard before!

The Diary of Anne Frank

By Regina Taylor Adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry Directed and choreographed by Patdro Harris May 13 – June 7

A troubled young woman journeys to her ancestral home and finds healing in the warm embrace of family, church, gospel music and tradition

By David Sedaris Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello Directed by James Edmondson December 2 – January 4

Meet Crumpet, a 33-year-old starving artist turn cranky (but cute) Macy’s elf, in humorist David Sedaris’ witty gem of a lump of coal. For mature elves only. All plays and players subject to change.

SeaSon SponSorS:


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Group Sales: 315.443.9844

Profile for Syracuse Stage

MaRainey's Balck Bottom  

MaRainey's Balck Bottom-1982

MaRainey's Balck Bottom  

MaRainey's Balck Bottom-1982

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