VIDEO | Ebony Jo-Ann Sings "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's 1927 and blues legend Ma Rainey is about to record a new album of her songs in a rundown Chicago studio. After showing up late, she squares off with her band players, her producer and a manager who's trying to keep the session on track. Meanwhile one of the musicians, Levee, is pushing for them to record an edgier arrangement of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." But Ma isn't letting anyone tell her what to do.

Watch a clip of Ebony Jo-Ann performing the title role in the August Wilson play, recorded live in The Greene Space on August 26, 2013. The reading opened our historic series, which marks the first time that all 10 plays in Wilson's American Century Cycle are being recorded.

All of the readings are being webcast live here on our website. The full performance videos won't be available for on-demand viewing after they stream, but we'll be posting short clips from each performance right here on our website. Select plays will air on WNYC and public radio stations across the country in 2014, and audio of all 10 plays will be available for on-demand streaming on our website in early 2014.

Watch Ebony Jo-Ann's performance below:

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Comments [2]

Bill Young from Clovis, California

This rendition of Ma Rainey brought back memories of August Wilson himself. Thanks!

Sep. 18 2013 04:24 PM
Breena Clarke

Oh, my goodness, nothing is better than Ebony Jo-Ann performing as Ma Rainey. Ths is an avsolute delight!

Sep. 17 2013 07:11 AM

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