No country barn or park setting for these aspiring professionals, a group of students from the Purchase College School of the Arts spent their summer in Times Square producing and rehearsing August Wilson’s play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at the Sage Theater in the heart of Broadway.
The cast and crew headed by director Tabitha Holbert called themselves The People Theatre Company and were drawn from the talent pool of actors and design tech students at
Director Tabitha Holbert discovered “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” through her university class work as a sophomore. Now a senior, her production features a nontraditional young cast that lends a youthful energy to the smart, often hilarious and often tragic dialogue. This along with the play’s interjections of Ma Rainey’s blues ballads, makes the stage glow with the intangible, valuable spirit of the music, which forms the cornerstone of the action in this soulful, tragic story.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is a song by Ma Rainey, which makes obvious allusions rather than being dance music. The title “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was used for a 1982 play by August
The cast included:
Dennis Anderson as Cutler,
Chris Stevenson as
Marcus Callender as Slow Drag,
Tabitha Holbert as Ma Rainey,
Joanna Hartshorne as Dussie Mae,
Greg Lynch as Sylvester, Courtland manor
Frank Winters as Sturdyvant, Pleasantville
Dan Frye as Irvin,
John Colhouer as Policeman,