Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 54 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
This section contains 630 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Act 1

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...

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This section contains 630 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Study Guide
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Gale
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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