Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Virtual Q&A

Thursday, January 7 at 8:00 pm: Q&A with director George C. Wolfe and actors Michael Potts, Colman Domingo, and Glynn Turman, moderated by Dori Berinstein

About the Film:

Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey (Academy Award-winner Viola Davis). Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious trumpeter Levee (Chadwick Boseman)—who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry—spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives. Adapted from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom celebrates the transformative power of the blues and the artists who refuse to let society’s prejudices dictate their worth.


Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is currently available to watch on Netflix. Watch the film at your convenience, then join us for a conversation on January 7!

Visit our YouTube Channel to tune in LIVE on Thursday, Jan. 7 at 8:00 pm!

George C. Wolfe is a renowned director and playwright of theater and film, and a five-time Tony Award winner who has firmly established himself as one of America’s most important and influential cultural voices. He has directed numerous plays including Spunk, Jelly’s Last Jam, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Angels in America: Perestroika, Bring in ‘da Noise/Bring in ‘da Funk, Elaine Stretch at Liberty, and The Iceman Cometh. His film directing credits include Lackawanna Blues, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. He was the artistic director of the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater from 1994-2004. Wolfe was also appointed to President Obama’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities, and is a Chief Creative Officer of the Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Michael Potts is an accomplished actor of stage and screen who most recently starred as the heartwarming Mr. Hawkins in the Tony-nominated musical The Prom. He has appeared in many stage productions including The Book of Mormon (where he originated the role of Mafala Hatimbi), The Iceman Cometh, Jitney, and 1984. On television he is most widely known for his roles as Brother Mouzone in The Wire and Detective Gilbough in season one of True Detective.

Colman Domingo is a Tony, Lawrence Olivier, Drama Desk, Drama League, and NAACP Theatre Award nominee, OBIE and Lucille Lortel Award-winning actor, playwright, director, and producer. His stage appearances include the Broadway productions of Passing Strange, The Scottsboro Boys, Chicago, and A Raisin in the Sun. He has appeared in films such as Selma, The Birth of a Nation, If Beale Street Could Talk, The God Committee, Assassination Nation, and Zola. Domingo has guest starred in many television shows and had recurring roles on Fear the Walking Dead and Euphoria. His Broadway musical Summer: The Donna Summer Musical received two Tony Award nominations.

Glynn Turman is an award-winning, New York City-born actor who began his acting career in the original Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun when he was 12. Since then his career has spanned decades on stage, film, and television as a versatile actor and director. His roles on television include Peyton’s Place, A Different World, The Wire, and Queen Sugar and he has appeared in a wide range of films including Race, Dakota’s Summer, Cooley High, Gremlins, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Burlesque, Super 8, and The Way Back. He has won three NAACP Image Awards, a NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre, and an Emmy award.

Dori Berinstein is a four-time Tony-winning Broadway producer, an Emmy-award-winning director, producer and writer of film and television, and the founder and CEO of The Broadway Podcast Network. Dori’s most recent Broadway production is The Prom (Best Musical–Drama Desk Award), for which she partnered with Ryan Murphy on the Netflix adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Cordon, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, and Kerry Washington. Dori’s other Broadway shows include: Marianne Elliot’s revival of Company, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Tony Award–Best Play Revival); Legally Blonde: The Musical (Olivier Award–Best Musical), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award–Best Musical), The Crucible, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Tony Award–Best Play Revival), Fool Moon (Special Tony Award), Flower Drum Song, Enchanted April, and Golden Child. As an award-winning documentary filmmaker, Dori directed, wrote, and produced ShowBusiness: The Road To Broadway (Showtime), Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love (Emmy Award/American Masters), Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (Showtime), Gotta Dance (adapted for the stage as Half Time), Some Assembly Required, and the documentary short The Last Blintz. Most recently, Dori directed and produced the Special “Joshua Bell: At Home With Music,” which aired on PBS in August 2020. Dori is the Co-Founder and CEO of Broadway Podcast Network, the digital headquarters for top theatre Podcasts, musical podcasts and plays, and virtual theatre-related programming. Dori executive produced and/or supervised over 50 feature, special f/x, and/or animated productions, including Isaac Mizrahi’s award-winning documentary Unzipped, Dirty Dancing (both the feature and TV series) and Jim Henson’s MuppetVision 3-D and Walt Disney’s Imagineering.

This event is part of the Life on the Stage: Conversation and Film series, presented in partnership with the Actors Fund.

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