Photo credits: Mack Butler
EAST GREENSBORO, NC (April 20, 2022) – North Carolina A&T State University’s Theater Arts Program will present “My Rainey’s Black Bottom” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson beginning Thursday, April 28. Directed by Miller Lucky Jr., the production is a gripping account of what racism does to its victims. It’s funny, salty, raw and lyrical showcasing all the complicated emotions of the blues music it celebrates. Jayne Trinette, an alumnus of A&T’s theater program, will play the role of Ma Rainey.
Trinette is a powerful singer/actress with a three octave range and has an impressive career as a performer, educator and consultant. His credits include Broadway Tour of Disney’s The Lion King, Caroline Or Change, Ain’t Misbehavin, Smokey Joe’s Café and The Buddy Holly Story. Jayne has written, directed and produced a series of cabarets with tributes to Lena Horne and Aretha Franklin. You’ve also seen her on Live with Kelly and Michael singing with the cast of Walt Disney World’s Lion King Festival.
Inspired by the true mother of the blues, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, the setting is set in 1927 Chicago in a single day of music, jokes and dealings. An ambitious young horn player named Levee arrives with new group arrangements, including one for a popular dance called “The Black Bottom”. But Ma insists on singing it in the “familiar” way. The other band members – Cutler, Toledo and Slow Drag – follow suit, warning Levee to butt heads with Ma. The defiant Mother of the Blues knows she’s the star of the show and won’t be pushed around. . After all, it’s what Ma says that counts! As the day progresses and Ma’s demands are met, Levee cracks up. He succumbs to the harsh realities of unjustly thwarted aspirations, revealing self-destructive consequences.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is also one of the productions featured at Greater Greensboro’s Amplify Black Voices Festival. Building on Greensboro’s rich heritage of social justice and engagement in the civil rights movement, Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro brings together seven local college theater departments to collaboratively produce four theater performances focused on life and history of African Americans.
Staged in four different university theaters in the spring of 2022, the cast and crew for each will be drawn from all seven departments. After each performance, the cast and director will return to the stage to reflect on the importance of Black lives and stories and racial inequality. Our target audience includes university/college communities, the greater Greensboro community, and Guilford County public schools.
The Theater Arts Program and Paul Robeson Theater adhere to all COVID-19 protocols and procedures. Places will be limited to practice social distancing. Everyone is encouraged to follow safe hygiene practices to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Paul Robeson Theater on the campus of NC A&T State University
Performance dates and times:
Thursday April 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday April 30 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday May 1 at 3 p.m.
Adults – $17
Non-A&T Seniors and Students – $11
Children 12 and under – $6
A&T Students – Free with Aggie One Card
For tickets, call the Brown Hall box office at (336) 334-7749. For group tickets, call (336) 334-7519.