Page 1

PRESS KIT

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Press Release...................................................................................................................................2 Useful Links.........................................................................................................................................................................................7 Photo Library..................................................................................................................................................................................... 8 “August Wilson Day” Proclamation from Mayor Menino....................................................................................................10 The Boston Globe Feature: “A Powerful Portrayal of the Black Experience”................................................................ 11 Selections from Spotlight and the Program ........................................................................................................................... 13 The Luck of the Irish Press Release............................................................................................................................................ 21

Contact: Rebecca Curtiss, Communications Manager 617 273 1537, rcurtiss@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu Next Opening Night: The Luck of the Irish Press Opening Wednesday, April 11, 7pm, South End / Calderwood Pavilion At The BCA


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rebecca Curtiss, rcurtiss@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu / 617 273 1537 PHOTOS: huntingtontheatre.org/news/photolibrary.aspx (see instructions at the bottom of this release)

HUNTINGTON COMPLETES PULITZER PRIZE AND TONY AWARD WINNER AUGUST WILSON’S CENTURY CYCLE WITH MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM –BEGINS MARCH 9 WHAT The Huntington Theatre Company continues its 30th Anniversary Season with the powerful and moving drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, completing August Wilson’s Century Cycle. Liesl Tommy (Ruined) directs the production that stars Yvette Freeman (NBC’s “ER”) as blues singer Ma Rainey.

WHEN March 9 – April 8, 2012 Evenings: Tues. – Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fri. – Sat. at 8pm; Select Sun. at 7pm Matinees: Select Wed., Sat., and Sun. at 2pm Days and times vary; see complete schedule at end of release. Press Opening: Wednesday, March 14, 7pm. RSVP online at huntingtontheatre.org/news.

WHERE BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston – Avenue of the Arts

TICKETS Single tickets start at $25. FlexPass subscriptions are also on sale:  online at huntingtontheatre.org;  by phone at 617 266 0800, or  in person at the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End. $5 off: seniors $10 off: subscribers and BU community (faculty/staff/alumni) $25 “35 Below” tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required) $15 student and military tickets (valid ID required)


(BOSTON) – The Huntington Theatre Company presents Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s first Broadway hit, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, completing the Huntington’s mounting of Wilson’s Century Cycle. Liesl Tommy, director of the Huntington’s acclaimed 2011 production of Ruined, returns. The ensemble stars “ER” cast member Yvette Freeman as the legendary blues singer Ma Rainey and features local rising star Jason Bowen (Ruined, A Civil War Christmas at the Huntington) as Levee and favorites Thomas Derrah (Red) and Will LeBow (The Cherry Orchard). In the play, a quartet of blues musicians gather in a run-down 1920s Chicago studio waiting for legendary blues singer Ma Rainey to arrive to record new sides of her old favorites. Young, hotheaded trumpeter Levee aspires to a better life for himself and sees the emerging form of the blues as his ticket to fame and fortune. When he clashes with veteran musicians Toledo and Cutler and Ma Rainey spars with her white music producers, generational and racial tensions explode in the powerful and moving drama Newsweek calls, “Extraordinary.” Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the first of ten plays August Wilson wrote that became his Century Cycle, one chronicling the African-American experience of each decade of the 20th century. Wilson wrote Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom before establishing his relationship with the Huntington, but beginning in 1986 with Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, the Huntington and Boston audiences enjoyed a special relationship with Wilson who came to consider the Huntington an artistic home. Here, he mounted early productions of seven of his Cycles plays before their New York productions. “August would spend six weeks here working on each play,” recalls Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso. “At times, I would see the next play come to life in front of me as he started to talk about the characters that were still in his head and what he was discovering about them. Here at the Huntington, we had the privilege of seeing some of these stories come to life in his head before he ever wrote a word down.” “I have a long and valued relationship with the Huntington. They have contributed enormously to my development as a playwright, and I guard that relationship jealously,” Wilson remarked in 2004. The Huntington staged Radio Golf, the final play of his Cycle, in 2006, shortly after his untimely death at 62 from liver cancer. In 2009, the Huntington produced Wilson’s second play, Fences. The production, helmed by Kenny Leon (Fences and Stick Fly, both on Broadway) received the 2010 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production (large theatre). “When I first arrived at the Huntington, one of the questions I was asked most frequently by members of our audience was when would we complete August Wilson’s magnificent Century Cycle,” says Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “This production closes such a meaningful chapter in the Huntington’s history. Ma Rainey’s exemplifies Wilson’s true jazz-poet genius.”

ABOUT THE ARTISTS The cast includes:  Joniece Abbott-Pratt (Dussie Mae): Gem of the Ocean (Hartford Stage), The Piano Lesson (Yale Rep);  Corey Allen (Sylvester): A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Great River Shakespeare Festival), The Fall of Heaven (The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis);  Jason Bowen (Levee): Ruined, Prelude to a Kiss, and A Civil War Christmas (Huntington Theatre Company), The Merry Wives of Windsor and Twelfth Night (Actors’ Shakespeare Project),


      

Thomas Derrah (Sturdyvant): Red (SpeakEasy Stage Company), End Game (American Repertory Theater); Yvette Freeman (Ma Rainey): NBC’s “ER” for all fifteen seasons (Nurse Haleh Adams); Dinah Was (Long Beach International Theatre), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (first national tour); Will LeBow (Irvin): Bus Stop, The Cherry Orchard, and Sonia Flew (Huntington Theatre Company), Full Circle and The Merchant of Venice (American Repertory Theater); Timothy J. Smith (Policeman): Candide and Prelude to a Kiss (Huntington Theatre Company), Nine (SpeakEasy Stage Company); G. Valmont Thomas (Cutler): Radio Golf (Syracuse Stage), She Loves Me (Angus Bowmer Theatre); Glenn Turner (Slow Drag): A Chorus Line (Broadway), Langston in Harlem (Urban Stages); and Charles Weldon (Toledo): To Kill a Mockingbird (Denver Center Theatre Company), The Picture Box (The Negro Ensemble Company).

August Wilson (playwright) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African-Americans decade-by-decade over the course of the 20th century. Mr. Wilson's plays have been produced at regional theatres across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway. In 2003, Mr. Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Mr. Wilson's works garnered many awards, including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987) and for The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain's Olivier Award for Jitney; as well as eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney, and Radio Golf. The cast recording of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award. Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. His early works included the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming, and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills. Mr. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, the Whiting Writers Award, 2003 Heinz Award, a 1999 National Humanities Medal awarded by the President of the United States, and received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and on October 16, 2005, Broadway named the theatre located at 245 West 52nd Street The August Wilson Theatre. Additionally, Mr. Wilson was posthumously inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2007. Mr. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lived in Seattle, Washington at the time of his death. Liesl Tommy (director) previously directed Ruined for the Huntington Theatre Company/Berkeley Repertory Theatre/ La Jolla Playhouse. Other credits include Peggy Pickett Sees the Face of God by Roland Schimmelpfennig (world premiere, Luminato Festival/Volcano Theatre); Ruined by Lynn Nottage (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Eclipsed by Danai Gurira (world premiere, Yale Repertory Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre); Angela’s Mixtape by Eisa Davis (world premiere, Synchronicity Performance Group, New Georges); The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson (world premiere, The Public Theater/NYSF, Sundance Theatre Institute, Dallas Theater Center); A History of Light by Eisa Davis (world premiere, Contemporary American Theatre Festival); Yankee Tavern and Stick Fly (CATF); A Christmas Carol (Trinity Repertory Company); In the Continuum (Playmakers Repertory Company); Flight (City Theatre); A Stone’s Throw by Lynn Nottage (world premiere, Women’s Project); and Bus and Family Ties (Cristian Panaite Play Company) for the Romania Kiss Me! Festival. Ms. Tommy was awarded the NEA/TCG Directors Grant and the New York Theatre Workshop Casting/Directing Fellowship and is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. She has also been a guest director and teacher at The Juilliard School, Trinity


Rep/Brown University’s MFA Directing and Acting Program, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a graduate of Newton North High School and a native of Cape Town, South Africa.

PRODUCTION ARTISTS Scenic design and costume design by Clint Ramos (Ruined, A Raisin in the Sun); lighting design by Marcus Doshi (La Voix Humaine, 21st Century Liederabend); sound design and music direction by Broken Chord Collective (Ruined, The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow).

SPONSORS  Grand Patron: Boston University  30th Anniversary Sponsor: Carol G. Deane  Season Sponsor: J. David Wimberly

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org. #

#

#

MEDIA NOTES For interviews and more information, contact Communications Manager Rebecca Curtiss at rcurtiss@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu or 617 273 1537.

PHOTO DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS To download high-resolution (or smaller) photos of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom : 1. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/news/photolibrary.aspx 2. Click on a thumbnail, and let the image load in your browser on the Flickr site. Note caption information is displayed below the image. 3. Click the Action button, located above the image on the Flickr site, and select View All Sizes. 4. Select the size you wish to download from the choices listed across the top of the image. 5. Let the image load in your browser, then right-click on it to save to your computer.


PRODUCTION CALENDAR AND RELATED EVENTS

Post-Show Audience Conversations

ASL-Interpreted Performance

Ongoing

Thurs., 3/29 at 10am, Friday, 3/30 at 8pm

Led by members of the Huntington staff. After most Tuesday - Friday, Saturday matinee, and Sunday matinee

Humanities Forum

performances throughout the season. Free with a ticket

Sun. 3/25, following the 2pm performance

to the performance.

A post-performance talk exploring the context and significance of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

35 Below Wrap Party Fri. 3/9, following the 8pm performance

Actors Forum

A post-show wrap party with drinks, live music, and

Thurs., 3/29 following the 10am student matinee

exclusive backstage access. $25 ticket includes admission

Wed., 4/4, following the 2pm performance

to both performance and party. Learn more at

Thurs., 4/5 following the 10am student matinee

huntingtontheatre.org/35Below.

Participating cast members answer questions from the audience.

Student Matinee Performances Thurs. 3/29 and 4/5 at 10am


USEFUL LINKS: MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM 

Watch our Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom trailers, video of Artistic Director Peter DuBois discussing the production, listen to recordings by Ma Rainey, and much more: huntingtontheatre.org/season/1112/rainey/multimedia.aspx#VIDEO



Biographical information about the artists who created and perform in this production: huntingtontheatre.org/season/1112/rainey/whos-who.aspx



High-resolution production photos – available for download: huntingtontheatre.org/news/photo/1112/rainey.aspx



The spring issue of Spotlight, the Huntington’s magazine: huntingtontheatre.org/season/1112/spotlight/index.aspx



Huntington Theatre Company website: huntingtontheatre.org


PHOTO LIBRARY Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson Directed by Liesl Tommy March 9 – April 8, 2012 Avenue of Arts / BU Theatre Available at huntingtontheatre.org/news/photo/1112/rainey.aspx.

MaRaineysBlackBottom_HuntingtonTheatreCompany_315

MaRaineysBlackBottom_HuntingtonTheatreCompany_289

Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Yvette Freeman, and Corey Allen in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Yvette Freeman and Corey Allen in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

MaRaineysBlackBottom_HuntingtonTheatreCompany_276

MaRaineysBlackBottom_HuntingtonTheatreCompany_103

Yvette Freeman in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Glenn Turner and Jason Bowen in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.


MaRaineysBlackBottom_HuntingtonTheatreCompany_101

MaRaineysBlackBottom_HuntingtonTheatreCompany_090

Glenn Turner, Jason Bowen, G. Valmont Thomas, and Charles Weldon in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Glenn Turner, Will LeBow, G. Valmont Thomas, Jason Bowen, and Charles Weldon in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

MaRaineysBlackBottom_HuntingtonTheatreCompany_266

MaRaineysBlackBottom_HuntingtonTheatreCompany_209

Joniece Abott-Pratt and Jason Bowen in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Thomas Derrah and Jason Bowen in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.


With ‘Ma Rainey,’ Huntington completes its August Wilson cycle - Arts -...

1 of 5

http://bostonglobe.com/arts/2012/03/09/with-rainey-huntington-theatre-c...

For subscriber only content and events, click to visit the Insiders page.

By Patti Hartigan | GLO BE C O R RES PO ND ENT

M AR CH 09 , 2 012

BRI AN FEULNER FO R THE BO STO N G LO BE

Jason Bowen (left), Charles Weldon, and Yvette Freeman are at the Huntington Theatre Company in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

When “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’’ opened on Broadway in 1984, playwright August Wilson emerged, seemingly out of nowhere, as an electrifying new voice in American

3/13/2012 11:40 AM


With ‘Ma Rainey,’ Huntington completes its August Wilson cycle - Arts -...

2 of 5

http://bostonglobe.com/arts/2012/03/09/with-rainey-huntington-theatre-c...

theater. The poet from Pittsburgh was hailed for his lyrical voice and for his singular ability to capture the hopes and dreams - often deferred - of black Americans. Wilson, of course, went on to produce a cycle of 10 plays about the black experience, one for each decade of the 20th century. By the time he died in 2005, at 60, he had become a cultural icon. But back in the ’80s, when he was hardly a household name, the Huntington Theatre Company jumped at the chance to become part of a group of regional theaters, led by Yale Repertory Theatre, that developed

ESSDRAS M SUAREZ/G LO BE STAFF/ FI LE/2005

August Wilson.

each play before it went to Broadway. Wilson worked on six of his plays at the Huntington, beginning with “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone’’ in 1986, and the company has produced all of his plays except one. That changes Friday, when “Ma Rainey’’ opens at the Boston University Theatre in a production that runs through April 8. That legacy is permeating the production process. “There are times when we all feel the ghosts in the room, helping us along the way,’’ director Liesl Tommy says. CONTINUE READING BELOW ▼

The play unfolds in a recording studio in 1927 Chicago, where Ma Rainey and her band are cutting records of old blues standards. Based on the real-life singer, Wilson’s Rainey is a pistol: She does what she wants, when she

M A RA IN EY’S B LA C K B O TTO M 617-266-0800. http://www.huntingtontheatre.org

wants. You do not mess with Ma. “She has been through it, and she knows the game,’’

Performing company: Huntington

says Yvette Freeman, who plays Rainey. “She knows how to wield power, and for a black

Boston

woman in 1927, that is a big thing.’’ Friday

3/13/2012 11:40 AM


With ‘Ma Rainey,’ Huntington completes its August Wilson cycle - Arts -...

3 of 5

http://bostonglobe.com/arts/2012/03/09/with-rainey-huntington-theatre-c...

Cultural tastes were changing then, and the blues were beginning to be considered old-fashioned compared with the new sound of commercial jazz. In the play, Rainey refuses to change her style, and her sidemen, most of them getting on in years, are fiercely loyal to her - with the exception of one. Levee is a brilliant trumpet player, a young man full of ambition to make a splash in the music business, which is run by white men. The tension between the two generations - one steeped in history and the

BRI AN FEULNER FO R THE BO STO N G LO BE

Director Liesl Tommy (left) talks with

other deaf to the wisdom of elders - underlies

Glenn Turner and other cast members

the entire play.

at a “Ma Rainey’’ rehearsal last week.

“Ma Rainey’’ explores questions that Wilson wrestled with himself. How can an artist remain true to his or her vision? What does it mean to be young, gifted, and black in a racist society? “At one point, Ma says, ‘I didn’t invent the blues. They’ve been around for a long time,’ ’’ Tommy says, paraphrasing. “That is one of those August Wilson ghost moments. This character was given the gift of being able to share the music she’s heard her whole life with other people. That is what August Wilson was able to do. He listened to all these voices and thought about all these stories and brought them to us in a way that elucidated everything.’’ Tommy and the cast are not only looking at 1920s America; they are also exploring the era during which Wilson wrote the play and examining how that historical moment resonates today. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was president. Crack cocaine was ruining lives. Young black men were subject to random police searches. In 1989, when Charles Stuart fatally shot his pregnant wife in Boston and blamed a fictitious black assailant, a massive manhunt and a false arrest ensued. “There was a conversation happening in this country around African-American youth,’’ says Tommy, who was a student at Newton North High School in the ’80s, and a recent immigrant from South Africa under apartheid. “The things that the older men say to Levee to try to raise him and make him a man are the kinds of things that guidance counselors and cultural critics were talking about in the ’80s.’’ The memory of that period inspired her to cast Jason Bowen, 29, a Boston native, as Levee. Bowen, a regular on local stages, readily admits he has never seen a Wilson

3/13/2012 11:40 AM


With ‘Ma Rainey,’ Huntington completes its August Wilson cycle - Arts -...

4 of 5

http://bostonglobe.com/arts/2012/03/09/with-rainey-huntington-theatre-c...

play and, aside from “Ma Rainey,’’ has only read the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Fences,’’ arguably Wilson’s most popular work. He is cast alongside Charles Weldon, 71, who plays Toledo, the band’s philosophizing piano player. The artistic director of New York’s Negro Ensemble Company, Weldon spent years performing in Wilson plays. “August Wilson bought my house,’’ he says, echoing a longstanding sentiment among black actors that Wilson gave them an opportunity to make a living in the theater. The characters in the play are searching for a way to survive as artists without sacrificing their integrity, which was Wilson’s quest as well all those years. Managing director Michael Maso has been at the Huntington since it was founded, and he witnessed Wilson’s development. “He was a different person in 1986 than he was six or seven years later,’’ Maso says. When Wilson first arrived at the Huntington, he was under the tutelage of Lloyd Richards, the late theater director who shepherded Wilson’s first six plays while artistic director of Yale Rep. “He was quiet in groups, and he always deferred to Lloyd,’’ Maso says. “When you got him in a smaller setting, you saw this great, funny storyteller, which made sense.’’ Maso noticed a significant shift when the Huntington produced “Seven Guitars’’ in 1995. Wilson was suddenly in control of every meeting. “Ma Rainey’’ ends tragically because an artist does not have control of his life. “Seven Guitars’’ explores the same theme, and Maso contends it was Wilson reflecting his own growth: “August came into his power over the course of some years and found his voice as someone who had something to say to the world and the community.’’ The things he had to say were not without controversy. Some critics complained that he did not write great roles for women - or hire female directors. Tommy, who remembers the Huntington’s 1986 production of “Joe Turner’’ as “one of those seminal experiences, when your mind is blown and the world opens up,’’ last season directed “The Piano Lesson’’ at Yale Rep. But she had shunned Wilson’s work for years after becoming a director. “There was a period when I felt an anger toward August Wilson and totally dismissed him,’’ she says. “I felt there was no place for me in the work. That was the frustration of youth, the attitude that if you don’t want me, I don’t want you. But later, I rediscovered the brilliance and the poetry and the magic, and I’ve come to understand that not everybody writes everything. You can certainly critique the work, but ultimately, you accept the artist for what they can give.’’

3/13/2012 11:40 AM


With ‘Ma Rainey,’ Huntington completes its August Wilson cycle - Arts -...

5 of 5

http://bostonglobe.com/arts/2012/03/09/with-rainey-huntington-theatre-c...

Tommy’s redefinition of Wilson’s place as an artist is part of the passing of the baton as the Huntington completes its Wilson cycle. A whole generation of legendary actors has passed through the theater - Charles Dutton, Angela Bassett, Phylicia Rashad, Viola Davis, to name a few - and a new generation is interpreting the work for a new day. The voices of those earlier actors linger, particularly for audience members who saw the plays here for the first time. And there are those ghost moments. Freeman, who may be best known for playing Nurse Haleh Adams on the NBC series “ER,’’ has never appeared in a Wilson play. That’s just the way it goes, she says, but she is now at an age where she can play some of the roles he wrote for mature women, like Ma Rainey and the legendary Aunt Ester. Does she feel a spiritual connection? “His being is around us, yes, ma’am,’’ she says. “I feel in the hands of Ma Rainey and August Wilson. I feel like I’m in their hands.’’ Patti Hartigan can be reached at pattihartigan@gmail.com.

© 2012 THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY

3/13/2012 11:40 AM


AU WIL GU LIE SON ST TOM SL MY

&M OV ING

DI

RE

CT

ED

BY

BY

DR AM A

MA B L A M A R .9 C K R A -AP BO INE R.8 TTO Y’S M A BU VE TH NU EAT E RE O FT HE AR TS

PO WE RFU L

“Extraordinary! Ma Rainey rides on the exultant notes of the blues.” - NEWSWEEK

Legendary 1920s blues singer Ma Rainey and her musicians gather in a run-down Chicago studio to record new sides of old favorites when generational and racial tensions suddenly explode. The Huntington completes Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner August Wilson’s Century Cycle with this searing drama, Wilson’s first Broadway hit. Featuring a stellar cast including Yvette Freeman (TV’s “ER”) as Ma Rainey and local favorites Jason Bowen, Thomas Derrah, and Will LeBow.


“Ma Rainey was a tremendous figure. She wouldn’t have to sing any words; she would moan, and the audience would moan with her. She had them in the palm of her hand. … Ma really knew these people; she was a person of the folk; she was very simple and direct.” - STERLING BROWN (1901-1989), POET

Ma Rainey and her band.

THE MUSIC OF MA RAINEY “Completing August Wilson’s magnificent Century Cycle closes such a meaningful chapter in the Huntington’s history. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom exemplifies his true jazz-poet genius.” – PETER DUBOIS Ma Rainey, like the blues, was a product of the late 19th century South that reached full flower in the early 20th century. Born Gertrude Pridgett on April 26, 1886 in Columbus, Georgia, she began performing around age 14 in the local talent show and at church. At 18, she married William “Pa” Rainey, and they toured an act together in minstrel, circus, and vaudeville shows throughout the South. No records survive of their act, but music historians surmise it was a mix of rural folk music, minstrelsy, and comedy. During her touring years, she spent winters in New Orleans where she met the best emerging blues and jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Joe “King” Oliver, and Bessie Smith (who she is presumed to have mentored if only by example). Ma Rainey’s performances were unforgettable to those who saw them; her talent is not fully captured by her recordings. In Understanding August Wilson, critic Mary L. Bogumil describes the live experience: “A flamboyant songstress, adorned by her own spectacular creations, jewels and costumes, she paraded onto the stage with her band and situated herself in front of equally magnificent backdrops she also created, such as an enormous cut-out of a gramophone, which gave the appearance of Ma emerging right from the speaker, issuing from and manifesting the music itself.” Ma acted the part of entertainment royalty with relish, every inch a queen. It wasn’t just the shows that were big. Ma had a powerful voice and charismatic phrasing she delivered in a moaning style. Her material consisted of a variety of songs drawn from Southern traditions, unblushing in their treatment of human sexuality and unselfconsciously rural in their allusions to fortunetellers, boll weevils, and chain gangs. Legendary blues pianist Champion Jack Dupree describes her performance this way: “She was really an ugly woman, but when she opened her mouth — that was it! You forgot everything. She knew how to sing those blues, and she got right into your heart. What a personality she had. One of the greatest of all singers.”

came the blues and Ma Rainey. Touring in performance for 23 years before ever recording a single song, she laid down over 100 tracks between 1923 and 1928, all for Paramount, a Chicago label specializing in what was then known as “race” music. Fortunately these recordings captured the unique style of 1920s blues as the form changed dramatically at the end of the decade. At the moment we meet Ma Rainey in August Wilson’s play, blues performers are feeling the pressure from more modern movements in music like jazz and swing. The importance of Ma Rainey’s musical style in American culture is hard to overstate. Endlessly elastic, the blues “are all things to all men of the race” according to historian Derrick Stewart-Baker (Ma Rainey and Classic Blues Singers). He writes, “The blues are a state of mind. … [They] reflect the cry of the forgotten man and woman, the shout for freedom, the boast of the virile man, the wrath of the frustrated, and the ironical chuckle of the fatalist; … they also reflect the agony of insecurity, the poverty and the hunger of the workless, the despair of the bereaved and the cryptic humor of the cynic.” Blues also came to encompass the national African-American experience, rather than simply a regional one. As August Wilson notes in his introduction to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, “Whether this music came from Alabama or Mississippi or other parts of the South doesn’t matter anymore. The men and women who make this music have learned it from the narrow crooked streets of East St. Louis, or the streets of the city’s Southside, and the Alabama or Mississippi roots have been strangled by the Northern manners and customs of free men....” It’s no accident that Wilson’s first play of note concerns blues musicians. The blues is a form of music — much like Wilson’s Century Cycle — that is both entertainment and a historical record. As Ma Rainey says in his play, “You sing ’cause that’s a way of understanding life.” That ethos informs this play and all the rest.

During the great migration from 1910-1930, six million African-Americans relocated from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West, and with them

- LISA TIMMEL

LEARN MORE ONLINE Visit the Learn & Explore section of huntingtontheatre.org/rainey to listen to recordings by Ma Rainey, watch a slide show about August Wilson’s work, and more.

HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG

9


T. CHARLES ERICKSON

GERRY GOODSTEIN

20004 - 2005

John Earl Jelks, Phylicia Rashad, and LisaGay Hamilton in Gem of the Ocean.

Angela Bassett and Delroy Lindo in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.

1986 - 1987

“I have a long and valued relationship with the Huntington. They have contributed enormously to my development as a playwright, and I guard that relationship jealously.” – AUGUST WILSON (IN 2004)

COMPLETING THE CENTURY CYCLE AUGUST WILSON HAD A UNIQUE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HUNTINGTON, AS EIGHT OF HIS PLAYS WERE PRODUCED HERE BEFORE THEY WENT ON TO NEW YORK (7 TO BROADWAY, AND ONE OFF BROADWAY). OUR AUDIENCES AND STAFF ALIKE HAVE WONDERFUL MEMORIES OF ENCOUNTERS WITH MR. WILSON, AND HE FELT A SPECIAL CONNECTION WITH THE THEATRE AS WELL. WITH MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM, THE HUNTINGTON WILL COMPLETE ALL TEN PLAYS OF WILSON’S CENTURY CYCLE.

T. CHARLES ERICKSON

BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800

T. CHARLES ERICKSON

10

RICHARD FELDMAN

1990 - 1991

Chuck Patterson, Al White, and Jonathan Earl Peck in Two Trains Running.

Russell Hornsby and Michole Briana White in Jitney.

Tony Todd and Ella Joyce in King Hedley II.

1998 - 1999

1999 - 2000


JOAN MARCUS

Keith David and Viola Davis in Seven Guitars.

1995 - 1996

1900s: In Gem of the Ocean (2004-2005 season), Aunt Ester, 285 years old,

ERIC ANTONIOU

MARK MORELLI

1987 - 1988

Boy Willie and Rocky Carroll in The Piano Lesson.

2009-- 2010

John Beasley in Fences.

1960s: In Two Trains Running (1990-1991 season), Memphis Lee’s lunch counter faces destruction, while Sterling Johnson tries to put his life back together after serving time. There are two trains running every day: which one will get you where you’re going?

redeems and cleanses the souls passing through her door.

1910s: In Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1986-1987 season), at Seth and Bertha Holly’s boardinghouse, a variety of characters look for people and families they’ve lost.

1970s: Jitney (1998-1999 season) chronicles unlicensed black cab drivers — jitneys — who serve the Hill District of Pittsburgh where most cabs refuse to go.

1920s: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2011-2012 Season) Ma Rainey visits a recording studio to lay down new tracks of old favorites when racial tensions explode.

1980s: King and Mister, children of characters from Seven Guitars, sell stolen refrigerators in King Hedley II (1999-2000 season). Revelations about King’s past and Aunt Ester’s death make King’s future unbearably bleak.

1930s: In The Piano Lesson (1987-1988 season), Boy Willie wants to sell the family piano and buy the land their ancestors worked as slaves. His sister Bernice refuses because it is carved with their entire family history.

1990s: In Radio Golf (2006-2007 season) the last play of the Century Cycle

1940s: Floyd Barton just needs a bus ticket to Chicago so he can cut some

and of Wilson’s life, Aunt Ester’s house hangs in the balance when developer Harmond Wilks slates it for destruction.

records in Seven Guitars (1995-1996 season). Short of options, he turns to theft and meets an untimely end.

1950s: Thwarted baseball player Troy Maxson works as a garbage man in SEE PAGE 27 FOR SHOW PERFORMANCE CALENDAR AND EVENT LISTINGS

Fences (2009-2010 season). His stubbornness, envy, and fear cause him to sabotage his son’s burgeoning athletic career.

AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION August Wilson’s 10-play cycle lives on nationwide through the August Wilson Monologue Competition, conceived and run by Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company. Now in its second year, the Huntington’s Department of Education and Community Programs will collaborate with ten public high schools on the Boston component of this competition.

ERIC ANTONIOU

2006 - 2007

Hassan El-Aming and James A. Williams in Radio Golf.

Since October, Huntington teaching artists have been visiting participating schools to introduce the students to Wilson’s life and work and to support script analysis and character development as they prepare their monologues. All school-wide winners will move on to the Boston competition (which is open to the public) on Saturday, February 4 at the BU Theatre. Boston’s top three winners will compete at the national level in May in New York City at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre. To see video of the 2011 Boston winners and news about the 2012 competition, visit huntingtontheatre.org/awmc

HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG

11


CHICAGO IN THE JAZZ AGE

Ma Rainey and her band

“Chicago of 1927 is a rough city, a bruising city, a city of millionaires and derelicts, gangsters and roughhouse dandies, whores and Irish grandmothers who move through its streets fingering long black rosaries. Somewhere a man is wrestling with the taste of a woman in his cheek. Somewhere a dog is barking. Somewhere the moon has fallen through a window and broken into thirty pieces of silver.” – AUGUST WILSON, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM


On August 8, 1922, 22-year-old Louis Armstrong boarded a train in New Orleans bound for Chicago, Illinois. When he stepped into Illinois Central Railroad Station the next day, the young musician was stunned by his surroundings. “I’d never seen a city that big,” the musician recounted in his memoir. “All those tall buildings. I thought they were universities. I said, no, this is the wrong city. I was…fixing to take the next train back home.” Armstrong was one of nearly 1.5 million black Southerners to find their way north in the first few decades of the 20th century, a part of the phenomenon known as the Great Migration. Chicago’s black population mushroomed from 44,103 in 1910 to 233,903 in 1930 as the city’s South Side filled with migrants who brought with them suitcases, hope, and jazz. Thanks to the convergence of so many Southern musicians, Chicago was the jazz capital of the United States by the time Armstrong arrived. New Orleans-style jazz evolved into something unique, known for years afterward as “Chicago style.” Black musicians found ample work in the dance halls and “black and tan cabarets” (establishments that encouraged drinking, dancing, gambling, and racial mingling) that crowded South State Street between 31st and 39th Streets, an area known as the “Stroll.” In addition to Armstrong, the South Side clubs featured the likes of Cab Calloway, Joe “King” Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Alberta Hunter, Bessie Smith, and Gertrude “Ma” Rainey. Because establishments in the Near North Side and the Loop rarely (if ever) hired black musicians, white entertainers who played the newest jazz styles were in constant demand. The great white musicians who learned their trade in 1920s Chicago — Bix Beiderbecke, Mezz Mezzrow, Eddie Condon, Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, and the Austin High Gang, to name a few — were not unfamiliar with the music of the Stroll. According to historian Mark Haller, “Nightly, after closing time in the Loop or Near North Side, white

musicians and entertainers flocked to the South Side joints to learn from the blacks whom they admired and imitated.” The invention and popularization of the phonograph provided another context for jazz and blues, according to jazz historian William Howland Kennedy, “lifting it out of the cabarets and inserting its sounds into homes across the country.” Producers heavily vetted musicians before inviting them to record with a particular label, and if their record sold fewer than 250 copies, they were not asked to record again. Recording artists received around $30 for each master cut, but retained no rights and received no royalties for their music. Instead, musicians used their records “to impress band leaders and band bookers, just as the latter used them to attract job offers from cabaret and vaudeville managers and dance hall proprietors.” In Chicago, records cut by black musicians were marketed primarily on the South Side, although they enjoyed a surprising number of sales further afield. Kennedy explains that “Pullman porters augmented…record sales by carrying batches of the latest issues with them on trips from Chicago into the South, where country folk often enjoyed listening to the sounds of the city.” Chicago’s jazz age blazed hot and fast, but by the end of the 1920s was already a thing of the past. Opportunities for black musicians significantly decreased with both the advent of the talkies, which used recorded sound instead of live musicians, and the economic collapse, which bankrupted a number of popular clubs. The popularization of radio brought jazz into the mainstream, but national tastes ran more toward big bands and swing than to Chicago style. While some of the clubs of the Stroll stayed open, Cab Calloway recalled in his memoir that they had become places “where people came to drink and talk, not listen to music.” - RACHEL CARPMAN


THE CENTURY CYCLE:

MA RAINEY, THE BLUES, AND THE WORK OF AUGUST WILSON “The characters [in my plays] are all continually negotiating for a position, the high ground of the battlefield, from where they might best shout an affirmation of the value and worth of their being in the face of a manymillion-voice chorus that seeks to deafen and obliterate it.” - AUGUST WILSON


GREY GOODSTEIN

Angela Bassett and Delroy Lindo in Joe Turner's Come and Gone at the Huntington in 1986.

“It was all one work,” August Wilson said of his epic ten-play cycle in 2005, just after announcing his fight against liver cancer. The most prolific and popular AfricanAmerican dramatist of the 20th century, Wilson passed away soon after. He had just completed revisions on Radio Golf, the final play in his cycle. “I hadn’t finished, so I couldn’t stop and rest on my laurels or be satisfied or wonder about where it’s gone,” he recalled. “I didn’t know what was going to happen in [each] play, I just started with a line of dialogue or with a feeling.” In Wilson’s approach to playwriting, he struck an improvisational tenor, inherited from blues and jazz, and this spirit of discovery and chance was inherent in his Century Cycle’s genesis; he didn’t set out to write a play set in every decade of the 20th century so much as discover his project was already underway. Wilson said he realized he was writing a series “after I’d written Joe Turner’s Come and Gone...because I’d written three plays that were all set in different decades.” He asked himself, “Why don’t I continue to do that?” With this production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the Huntington Theatre Company will join a number of theatres that have produced all ten Century Cycle plays. The first eight produced at the Huntington — Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney, King Hedley II, Gem of the Ocean, and Radio Golf — were presented prior to their New York productions as part of the network of regional theatre productions which Wilson used to refine and hone his work.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Wilson's first play to appear on Broadway, premiered in 1984. Until the time, he had written poetry and plays that were largely unproduced with the exception of Jitney. Written in 1980, the early version of the play was produced only in Pittsburgh at the time. (A fully revised version played across the country in the late 1990s, including at the Huntington in 1997.) Written before his idea for the Century Cycle, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is an outlier to Wilson’s other plays; it is set in Chicago, not the Hill District in Pittsburgh that became synonymous with Wilson’s other work. The structure and content of Wilson's first play focuses on his strongest lifelong influence, the blues. Wilson considered the blues to be the inherited literature of African-Americans who could draw a straight line from contemporary blues back to their ancestors. “White folks don’t understand about the blues,” Ma Rainey says in the play. “They hear it come out, but they don’t know how it got there. They don’t understand that’s life’s way of talking. You don’t sing to feel better. You sing ’cause that’s a way of understanding life.” “I once wrote this short story called ‘The Best Blues Singer in the World,’” Wilson said in 1999, echoing the theme, “and it went like this: ‘The streets that Balboa walked were his own private ocean, and Balboa was drowning.’ End of story. That says it all. Nothing else to say. All my plays are rewriting that same story.” - CHARLES HAUGLAND


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 6, 2012 CONTACT: Rebecca Curtiss, rcurtiss@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu / 617 273 1537 PHOTOS: huntingtontheatre.org/news/photolibrary.aspx (see instructions at the bottom of this release)

“THE LUCK OF THE IRISH,” A NEW PLAY EXPLORING BOSTON RACE RELATIONS AND THE UNIVERSAL LONGING FOR HOME, BEGINS AT HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY MARCH 30 WHAT Huntington Theatre Company premieres The Luck of the Irish, a new play by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Kirsten Greenidge about the complex impact of racial integration in Boston and the universal longing for home. Obie Award winner Melia Bensussen directs.

WHEN March 30 – April 29, 2012 Evenings: Tues. – Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fri. – Sat. at 8pm; Select Sun. at 7pm Matinees: Select Wed., Sat., and Sun. at 2pm Days and times vary; see complete schedule at end of release. Press Opening: Wednesday, April 11, 7pm. RSVP online at huntingtontheatre.org/news.

WHERE Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston – South End

TICKETS Single tickets start at $25. FlexPass subscriptions are also on sale:  online at huntingtontheatre.org;  by phone at 617 266 0800, or  in person at the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End. $5 off: seniors $10 off: subscribers and BU community (faculty/staff/alumni) $25 “35 Below” tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required) $15 student and military tickets (valid ID required)


(BOSTON) – The Huntington Theatre Company presents Huntington Playwriting Fellow Kirsten Greenidge’s The Luck of the Irish, a compelling new play that illuminates aspects of the hidden racial and social situations of 1950s Boston and their lingering presence fifty years later. Melia Bensussen, director of the Huntington’s 2010 production of Circle Mirror Transformation, returns. The ensemble cast includes Nikkole Salter (last seen in the Huntington’s Stick Fly) as Lucy Taylor and local favorites Marianna Bassham (Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s The Hotel Nepenthe ) and Nancy E. Carroll (Present Laughter and Brendan at the Huntington) as Patti Ann Donovan across two generations. The story of The Luck of the Irish spans two time periods and three generations. In the late 1950s, Lucy and Rex Taylor, a well-to-do African-American couple living in Boston’s South End, aspire to move to a nearby suburb to provide a better life for their two daughters. Unable to purchase a home in a segregated neighborhood themselves, they pay Patty Ann and Joe Donovan, a struggling Irish family to “ghost-buy” the house on their behalf and then sign over the deed. Fifty years later, Lucy’s granddaughter Hannah lives in the house with her family, where she grapples with the contemporary racial and social issues that stem from living in a primarily white community. When Lucy dies and leaves the house to Hannah and her sister Nessa, the now elderly Donovans return and ask for “their” house back. This complex yet intimate new play examines the long-term emotional costs of racial integration in Boston and the universal longing for a sense of place. “Kirsten’s play speaks so deeply to me of how hard some of us have to work to earn a sense of home and of belonging,” says Bensussen. “It is so specific its particulars, but it really resonates so much for us all because it speaks to that struggle of belonging and feeling you’ve earned something, particularly if you’ve come from any kind of a history that’s more complicated that meets the eye. That’s what makes the resonance of Kristen’s play so extraordinary.” “The Luck of the Irish tells an extremely personal story while revealing a hidden part of Boston’s history,” says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “In this, the Huntington’s 30th Anniversary Season, Kirsten’s play provides us with the opportunity to explore and celebrate our rich history as we also look to our future by producing new work by our talented Playwriting Fellows.” “The Luck of the Irish is inherently a Boston story,” says Greenidge. “It is also, in my thinking, cousin (perhaps distant, but that’s okay as long as I’m at the dinner table somehow) to the works Mr. [August] Wilson was able to develop at the Huntington decades ago.” Greenidge is a direct inheritor of playwright Wilson’s legacy. At age twelve, she was inspired to become a playwright while attending a student matinee of the Huntington’s production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. “I looked down onto that proscenium stage and saw, for the first time, an African-American story that simultaneously challenged and affirmed what I knew about how black people fit into the cultural landscape that is America,” Greenidge recalls. “Previously I had wanted to write novels, but my notions of how black characters fit into American literature melted quickly into the gilt that surrounds the Huntington’s main stage when I sat in that theatre on a gray and rainy day. For the first time in my life I saw black people on stage who were there to tell stories. Complicated stories. Rhythmical stories. Stories that were at once proud, true, painful, and funny.” Kirsten Greenidge (Playwright) is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow and the author of the plays Bossa Nova, Milk Like Sugar, Rust, The Curious Walk of the Salamander, Sans-Culottes in the Promised Land, 103 Within the Veil, and The


Gibson Girl. She has developed her work at Sundance (Utah and Ucross), Magic Theatre, National New Play Network, Cardinal Stage, South Coast Repertory, Madison Rep, Page 73, Hourglass, Bay Area Playwrights, Playwrights Horizons, New Dramatists, The Mark Taper Forum, A.S.K., Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Guthrie Theater, Mixed Blood, McCarter Theatre, Humana Festival of New American Plays, Moxie, and New Georges. She is the recipient of an NEA/TCG residency at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and a residency at Boston’s Company One. She has also received Sundance’s Time Warner Award for Bossa Nova and a commission from Yale Repertory Theatre. Ms. Greenidge attended Wesleyan University and the Playwrights Workshop/University of Iowa, and is a member of New Dramatists and Rhombus. Greenidge is a part of an accomplished and acclaimed group of Huntington Playwriting Fellows to be produced by the Huntington including Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly), Ronan Noone (The Atheist, Brendan), Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew), Sinan Ünel (The Cry of the Reed), Rebecca Maggor (Shakespeare’s Actresses in America), Ryan Landry (Psyched), and Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro (Before I Leave You). Melia Bensussen (Director) previously directed Circle Mirror Transformation at the Huntington. She is the recipient of an Obie Award for Outstanding Direction and has directed extensively around the country where she has worked on classics and collaborated with many of America’s leading playwrights. Her directing credits include work with Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Centerstage, Hartford Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, New York Shakespeare Festival, MCC Theater, Primary Stages, Long Wharf Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and People’s Light and Theatre Company, where she received a Barrymore Award nomination for Best Direction, and many others. She has received two Directing Awards by the Princess Grace Foundation, USA, including their top honor, the Statuette Award for Sustained Excellence in Directing. Ms. Bensussen is chair of the performing arts department at Emerson College.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS The cast includes:  Marianna Bassham (Patty Ann): The Hotel Nepenthe (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); Blackbird (SpeakEasy Stage Company, Elliot Norton Award);  Nancy E. Carroll (Mrs. Donovan): Present Laughter (Broadway and the Huntington, Elliot Norton Award); Brendan (Huntington Theatre Company, Elliot Norton Award);  Antoine Gray, Jr. (Miles) – alternating;  Francesca Choy-Kee (Hannah Davis): Letters to the End of the World (Studio Theatre), Bossa Nova (Yale Repertory Theatre);  Shalita Grant (Nessa Charles): The Philanderer (Pearl Theatre Company); Measure for Measure (The Public Theater);  Jahmeel Mack (Miles) – alternating;  Curtis McClarin (Rich): TOPDOG/UNDERDOG (South Coast Repertory); Drowning Crow (Broadway);  Richard McElvain (Mr. Donovan): To Kill a Mockingbird, Bang the Drum Slowly, Lady from Maxim’s (Huntington Theatre Company); Angels in America (Boston Theatre Works);  McCaleb Burnett (Joe): The Normal Heart (The Public Theater); A Little Journey (Mint Theater Company);  Nikkole Salter (Lucy): Stick Fly (Huntington Theatre Company); Gee’s Bend (Cincinnati Playhouse); Inked Baby (Playwright’s Horizons); and  Victor Williams (Rex): “King of Queens” (NAACP Image Award), A Small Fire (Playwrights Horizons).


PRODUCTION ARTISTS Scenic design by James Noone (The Corn is Green and She Loves Me at the Huntington); lighting design by Justin Townsend (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson on Broadway, Milk Like Sugar at Playwrights Horizons); costume design by Mariann Verheyen (Fences at the Huntington), and sound design and music direction by David Remedios (Circle Mirror Transformation and Prelude to a Kiss at the Huntington). Production Stage Manager is Marti McIntosh. Stage Manager is Carola Morrone LaCoste.

SPONSORS  Grand Patron: Boston University  30th Anniversary Sponsor: Carol G. Deane  Season Sponsor: J. David Wimberly

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org. #

#

#

MEDIA NOTES For interviews and more information, contact Communications Manager Rebecca Curtiss at rcurtiss@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu or 617 273 1537.

PHOTO DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS To download high-resolution (or smaller) photos of The Luck of the Irish: 1. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/news/photolibrary.aspx 2. Click on a thumbnail, and let the image load in your browser on the Flickr site. Note caption information is displayed below the image. 3. Click the Action button, located above the image on the Flickr site, and select View All Sizes. 4. Select the size you wish to download from the choices listed across the top of the image. 5. Let the image load in your browser, then right-click on it to save to your computer.


PRODUCTION CALENDAR AND RELATED EVENTS

Post-Show Audience Conversations

Humanities Forum

Ongoing

Sun. 4/22, following the 2pm performance

Led by members of the Huntington staff. After most

A post-performance talk exploring the context and

Tuesday - Friday, Saturday matinee, and Sunday matinee

significance of The Luck of the Irish.

performances throughout the season. Free with a ticket to the performance.

Actors Forum Fri. 4/13 and Thurs. 4/26, following the 10am student

Student Matinee Performances

matinee performances

Fri. 4/13 and Thurs. 4/26 – SOLD OUT

Thurs. 4/19, following the 7:30pm performance

Call 617 273 1558 about purchasing student tickets to other performances.

Wed. 4/25, following the 2pm performance Participating cast members answer questions from the audience.

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM Electronic Press Kit  

Legendary 1920s blues singer Ma Rainey and her musicians gather in a run-down Chicago studio to record new sides of old favorites when gener...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you