Monday, January 5, 2009

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at the Beck Center for the Arts

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at the Beck Center for the Arts
is playing at the Beck Center from January 30 through February 22, 2009. Written by the late, great August Wilson, this play is a powerful theater experience, one not afraid to be as funny and lyrical as it is angry, even enraged. MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM will celebrate you up, make you laugh, and make you cry.
The Beck honors this year's passing of August Wilson and the 25th anniversary of the Broadway production. Website at:

GROUP SALES RATES are available for groups of 13 or more.

SAVE $10 per ticket OR MORE, with larger groups.

Call Linda Hefner at the Beck Center for the Arts at 216/521-2540 or email her at


In the play, Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett Rainey, better known as Chicago blues legend Ma Rainey sets out to record her latest album. The scene is in Chicago in the 1920s, and Ma Rainey and her band are facing the historic exploitation of black recording artists by white producers. Generational and racial tensions escalate among Ma Rainey’s band and producers.

One of the first black singers to get a recording contract, Ma Rainey has become a diva, a temperamental star, and a woman to be reckoned with. In 1923 with “Moonshine Blues”, Paramount billed her as the “Mother of the Blues”There’s good evidence that she did name the style of music “the blues” which she molded out of the improvised music and sung speech vocal inflections known as “bluing the voice”. The play is set in 1927, near the height of Ma Rainey’s success. This is the story of a night in a Chicago recording studio as Rainey, her entourage, and her band members smoke, joke, talk, and fight about the music they play, the music they want to play, and the road they’ve travelled, from church socials and whorehouses in places that are not even small time, all the way to Chicago.

The commercial forces that have made these musicians successful, that have promised them escape, are the same forces that make harsh demands and warp their lives. Every character in Wilson’s plays wants to sing his or her own song, if only metaphorically. Ma Rainey wrote and popularized many standard blues songs, pioneered recording black music, and invented her own stage devices and shows out of the revival tradition. She’s a powerful, successful woman who says:

“White folks don’t understand about the blues. They hear it come out, but they don’t understand how it got there. They don’t understand that ‘s life’s way of talking. You don’t sing to feel better. You sing ‘cause that’s a way of understanding life.”

The Beck Center for the Arts
17801 Detroit Road
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
(216) 521-2540

Special Group Rates For You!

How does it work?
Get a group of people together to buy 13 or more tickets then Beck Center will knock $10 off each ticket's price.

Here's what you have to do to get group rates:
- pick a show you all want to see,
- collect the money from the people in the group,
- send a check to Beck Center,
- and you've qualified as a group!

Don't have 13 people immediately in mind?
That's ok -- friends, family, employees, employers, strangers off the street - so long as you're willing to collect the money from them and send a single check to Beck Center, you'll get the group rate.

Can't agree on one night for the whole group?
No problem - everyone can come on different nights, so long as they pick those nights ahead of time when they pay you so you can let us know what night they've chosen. That way we can send you the right number of tickets for the right nights.

Where will your seats be?
Your seats will be "Best Available" on the day you notify us you're a group. You can also talk to one of the friendly Beck Center Box Office staff at 216/521-2540 to arrange for your preferred seating.

Got more than 13?
Great! We've got bigger discounts! Our best rate? Bring 251 people and get adult tickets that are normally $31 for only $12!

What are the Group Rates?

Group Size Adult Tickets Senior Tickets Student Tickets
13-20 $21 $18 $14
21-50 $18 $16 $13
Over 50 $16 $14 $12
Over 100 $14 $12 $10
Over 250 $12 $10 $ 8

Regular Price $31 $28 $20
Your Savings $10-19 $10-18 $6-12

After you send in your check, we'll send you the tickets in the mail for you to distribute to your group however you choose.

This offer is good for any show this season.

You can find our season at

Call Linda Hefner, Patron Services Manager, at the Beck Center at
(216) 521-2540, Ext.