Cort Theatre, (10/11/1984 - 6/09/1985)

First Preview: Oct 03, 1984
Opening Date: Oct 11, 1984
Closing Date: Jun 09, 1985
Total Previews: 9
Total Performances: 276

Category: Play, Drama, Original, Broadway
Setting: Chicago. A bandroom and a recording studio. Early 1927.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President)

Produced by Ivan Bloch, Robert Cole and Frederick M. Zollo; (Uncredited) produced by Nicholas Paleologos; Associate Producer: Bart Berman, Hart Productions and William P. Suter

Originally produced by Yale Repertory Theatre (Lloyd Richards: Artistic Director; Benjamin Mordecai: Managing Director); Initially presented at the 1982 National Playwrights' Conference by The Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center

Written by August Wilson; Musical Director: Dwight Andrews; Featuring "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and "See See Rider" written by Ma Rainey; Featuring "Hear Me Talkin' To You" written by Louis Armstrong; Featuring "Trust No Man" written by Lillian Hardeway Henderson; Featuring "Doctor Jazz" written by Joseph Oliver and Walter Melrose

Directed by Lloyd Richards

Scenic Design by Charles Henry McClennahan; Costume Design by Daphne Pascucci; Lighting Design by Peter Maradudin; Sound Design by Jan Nebozenko

General Manager: Kingwill & Goossen, Inc.; Assistant to the General Managers: Susan Sampliner

Production Stage Manager: Mortimer Halpern; Stage Manager: K. White

Press Representative: Jeffrey Richards Associates; Associate to the Production: Deborah D. Mathews and Georgianne Walken; Casting: Meg Simon and Fran Kumin; Advertising: Serino, Coyne & Nappi; Photographer: Bert Andrews

Opening Night Cast

John CarpenterSturdyvant
studio owner
Lou CriscuoloIrvin
Ma's manager
Scott Davenport-RichardsSylvester
Ma's nephew
Charles S. DuttonLevee
Leonard JacksonSlow Drag
Robert JuddToledo
Christopher LoomisPoliceman
Theresa MerrittMa Rainey
Aleta MitchellDussie Mae
Joe SenecaCutler

Understudies: Peter Boyden (Irvin, Policeman, Sturdyvant), Bill Cobbs (Cutler), Arthur French (Slow Drag, Toledo), Brent Jennings (Levee, Sylvester) and Ebony Jo-Ann (Dussie Mae, Ma Rainey)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1985 Best Play [nominee] 

Written by August Wilson; Produced by Ivan Bloch, Robert Cole and Frederick M. Zollo

 1985 Best Featured Actor in a Play [nominee] 

Charles S. Dutton

 1985 Best Featured Actress in a Play [nominee] 

Theresa Merritt

Drama Desk Award

 1985 Outstanding New Play [nominee] 

Produced by Ivan Bloch, Robert Cole and Frederick M. Zollo; Written by August Wilson

winner 1985 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play [winner] 

Charles S. Dutton

Theatre World

winner 1985 Award [recipient] 

Charles S. Dutton

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Cort Theatre

(10/11/1984 - 6/9/1985)


Angela Bassett
Dussie Mae
Bill Cobbs
Arthur French
Slow Drag
Ebony Jo-Ann
during illness
Ma Rainey
John Randolph Jones

Understudies: Thomas Martell Brimm (Cutler), Damien Leake (Levee, Sylvester), Jack R. Marks (Irvin, Policeman, Sturdyvant), Lou Myers (Slow Drag, Toledo), Victor Raider-Wexler (Irvin, Policeman, Sturdyvant).

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