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Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: A Play Paperback – 24 April 1985

4.8 out of 5 stars 334 ratings

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Review

Praise for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

“The play’s themes are not new to the stage...the black American search for identity...and the process by which any American sells his soul for what Arthur Miller calls the salesman's dream. Mr. Wilson's style, however, is all his own.... He has lighted a dramatic fuse that snakes and hisses through several anguished eras of American life. When the fuse reaches its explosive final destination, the audience is impaled by the impact.”—Frank Rich, The New York Times

“Extraordinary! Ma Rainey rides on the exultant notes of the blues!”—Jack Kroll, Newsweek

“What a joy! Brilliant...explosive! One of the most dramatically riveting plays I’ve seen in years. You must see it!”—William A Raidy, Newhouse newspapers

“A genuine work of art.”—Brendan Gill, The New Yorker

“Tremendous...magnificent!”—Clive Barnes, New York Post

About the Author

August Wilson was a major American playwright whose work has been consistently acclaimed as among the finest of the American theater. His first play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best new play of 1984-85. His second play, Fences, won numerous awards for best play of the year, 1987, including the Tony Award, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. Joe Turner's Come and Gone, his third play, was voted best play of 1987-1988 by the New York Drama Critics' Circle. In 1990, Wilson was awarded his second Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson. He died in 2005.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Plume; Reissue edition (24 April 1985)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 112 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0452261139
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0452261136
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 104 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.46 x 0.76 x 20.32 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 334 ratings

About the author

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August Wilson (1945–2005) 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 twentieth century. Mr. Wilson’s plays have been produced at regional theaters across the country, on Broadway and throughout the world. In 2003, Mr. Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show How I Learned What I Learned.

Mr. Wilson’s work garnered many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney; and 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. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson’s early works include 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 and the 2003 Heinz Award. He was awarded a 1999 National Humanities Medal 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 renamed the theater located at 245 West 52nd Street: The August Wilson Theatre. In 2007, he was posthumously inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Mr. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, and lived in Seattle at the time of his death. He is survived by two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero.

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
334 global ratings

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Lostpenlids
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant play and a brilliant read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 August 2016
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Mrs B A G
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 March 2016
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ShaSeli
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Play
Reviewed in the United States on 2 January 2021
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JudE_Chicago
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the play. Watch the movie!
Reviewed in the United States on 29 March 2021
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J. Blanton
5.0 out of 5 stars Bottom's up
Reviewed in the United States on 23 May 2013
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