Everything you need to understand or teach Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by August Wilson.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom opens in a Chicago recording studio in early March 1927. Rainey has taken a break from touring to record some songs for Sturdyvant's studio. As the lights come up, Sturdyvant is warning Irvin that he will not put up with any of Ma Rainey's "shenanigans." Sturdyvant characterizes Rainey as a prima donna, someone who expects the world to do her bidding. Irvin's assurances that Rainey will show up on time do not sound convincing, however, and the more Sturdyvant warns Irvin that he won't put up with Rainey's attitude, the more prepared the audience becomes for an inevitable conflict when she does appear.
Cutler and the band appear shortly, and Levee shows up carrying his new shoes, which he paid for in part with money he won from Cutler the night before playing craps, a dice game. Levee's new Florsheim shoes represent a shift in... View more of the Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Summary