N.C. A&T’s Theatre Arts Program Presents Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Features Alum, Broadway Actor Trinette

By Donna Bradby / 04/20/2022 College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Photo Credits: Mack Butler

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 20, 2022) – The Theatre Arts program at North Carolina A&T State University will present Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" beginning Thursday, April 28. Directed by Miller Lucky Jr., the production is a searing account of what racism does to its victims. It is funny, salty, raw and lyrical highlighting all the complicated emotions of the blues music it celebrates. Jayne Trinette, an alumna of A&T’s theatre program, will star as Ma Rainey.

This is a photo of Jayne Trinette.Trinette is a powerful singer/actress with a three-octave range and has an impressive career as a performer, educator, and consultant. Her credits include Broadway Tour of Disney's The Lion King, Caroline Or Change, Ain't Misbehavin, Smokey Joe's Café, and The Buddy Holly Story. Jayne has written, directed, and produced a series of cabarets with tributes to Lena Horne and Aretha Franklin. You have also seen her on Live with Kelly and Michael singing with the cast of Walt Disney World's Festival of the Lion King.

Inspired by the real-life Mother of the Blues, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, the setting takes place in Chicago in 1927 over a single day of making music, making jokes and making deals. A young, ambitious horn player named Levee arrives with new band arrangements including one for a popular dance called “The Black Bottom.” But Ma insists on singing it the “familiar” way. The other band members—Cutler, Toledo, and Slow Drag—follow suit, warning Levee about butting heads with Ma. The defiant Mother of the Blues knows that she is the star of the show and she won't be pushed around. After all, it's what Ma says that counts! As the day unfolds and Ma’s demands are met, Levee cracks. He succumbs to the harsh realities of unjustly thwarted aspirations, revealing self-destructive consequences.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is also one of the productions featured in the Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro. Building on Greensboro’s rich legacy of social justice and engagement in the Civil Rights Movement, Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro unites seven local college theater departments to collaboratively produce four theater performances focusing on African American lives and history.

Staged at four different college theater venues in Spring 2022, the cast and crews for each will be blended from the seven departments. After each performance, the actors and director will return to the stage to reflect on the significance of Black lives and stories and racial inequity. Our target audience includes university/college communities, the greater Greensboro community, and Guilford County Public Schools.

The Theatre Arts Program and Paul Robeson Theatre adhere to all COVID-19 protocols and procedures. Seating will be limited to practice social distancing. Everyone is encouraged to follow safe hygiene practices to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Paul Robeson Theatre on the campus of N.C. A&T State University

Performance dates and times:

Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 30 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 1 at 3 p.m. 


Adults - $17
Senior citizens & non-A&T students - $11
Children 12 and younger - $6

A&T students - Free with Aggie One Card

For tickets, call the Brown Hall Ticket Office at (336) 334-7749. For group tickets, call (336) 334-7519.

Media Contact Information: uncomm@ncat.edu