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Bottoms Up

Set in 1920s Chicago, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom chronicles the struggles of "mother of blues" singer Ma Rainey and other African American blues artists who created and recorded the beginnings of blues amid oppression and exploitation by white producers. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson, Ma Rainey cuts through racism, sexuality, religion, art and abuse; issues that fueled Rainey's talent and vocal power, dominating the recording industry for years to come. Under the stewardship of director Ed Smith, the Black Rep debuts Ma Rainey on the main stage of the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square, 314-534-3807) tonight at 7 p.m., and the production runs Wednesday through Sunday until May 13 (showtimes vary). Ticket prices range from $20 to $47 and can be purchased at
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: April 11. Continues through May 13, 2012