Dec. 19: The August Wilson Society (AWS) and Howard University Will Present August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Virtual “Jam Session” Featuring Ebony Jo-Ann, Ruben Santiago Hudson, Phylicia Rashad, George C. Wolfe and Colman Domingo

On Saturday, December 19 at 5:00 p.m., The August Wilson Society (AWS) and Howard University are presenting August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Virtual “Jam Session” featuring Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad (Howard University ’70, Gem of the Ocean, director – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Mark Taper Forum); Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Jitney, Seven Guitars, director, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater) who penned the Netflix screen adaptation of the play, and Ebony Jo-Ann (Broadway revival Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), a recording artist and multiple award-winning actor of stage and screen. Additionally, the event will feature interviews with Tony Award-winner George C. Wolfe (Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk; Angels in America), the director of the Netflix film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Tony nominee Colman Domingo (The Scottsboro Boys) who is featured in the film. Sandra G. Shannon, Ph.D. founder and president of the August Wilson Society and Professor Emerita, Howard University, will serve as the “Jam Session” moderator.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the play that propelled August Wilson’s career as a major American playwright. Those who attend the “Jam Session” will learn about the genius of Wilson from a stellar trio of Wilsonian actors and directors who are master interpreters of his work. Additionally, the “Jam Session” will reveal details about the life of the ‘Mother of the Blues’ Gertrude Pridgett “Ma” Rainey and the final performance of Chadwick Boseman (Howard University ’00).

“August Wilson shared with me in a 1991 interview that his 1920s play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, almost didn’t happen.” Dr. Shannon said. “Before deciding to work with director Lloyd Richards, he was savvy enough to walk away from a potentially lucrative deal that he feared would turn his script into a musical and cast him into the heap of what he referred to as one-shot playwrights. Like Hamilton, though, he wasn’t about to throw away his shot! In fact, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom would pave the way toward Wilson’s mind-boggling ten plays known as the American Century Cycle! “

August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Virtual “Jam Session” is free, but registration is required. To register visit

AWS will provide a viewing link to all registrants for the “Jam Session” the afternoon of December 19. Heartbreak and transcendence: Bringing “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” to the screen

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

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