Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


Ma Rainey
Slow Drag
Dussie Mae

Photo of Greta Oglesby

GRETA OGLESBY most recently starred as Caroline in Caroline, or Change at the Guthrie Theatre. Other theatre credits include: Five Fingers of Funk, and Beggars’ Strike (Children’s Theatre Company); The Piano Lesson, Dinah Was, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, A Love Song for Miss Lydia, and Black Nativity (Penumbra Theatre); Gem of the Ocean, The Tempest, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Winter’s Tale and Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Crowns (Guthrie Theatre); Salt Fish and Bakes (Mixed Blood Theatre); and Once On This Island, King Lear, The Furies (Ten Thousand Things Theatre.)

Photo of A.C. Smith

A.C. SMITH is overjoyed to be back at Court Theatre and shot out of the Molière cannon once again in these productions. Other shows at Court Theatre include Jitney, Invisible Man, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, The First Breeze of Summer, and Fences for which he received the prestigious Jeff Award for Lead Actor in a drama for his portrayal of Troy Maxon. A native of Chicago, Smith has performed at many theaters here including Victory Gardens, Timeline Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, The Chicago Theatre for the Performing Arts, Illinois Theatre Centre, Second City, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Regional theater credits include The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Portland Stage, Geva Theatre Center, Milwaukee Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Saint Louis Black Repertory Company where he has been a company member for the past 18 years (nine-time Woodie King, Jr. Award winner). In addition, A.C. has done film, television, radio, commercials, and voiceovers, and he has appeared in Ebony and Jet magazines. He is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency. God Bless!

Photo of Alfred H. Wilson

ALFRED H. WILSON Recent credits: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (University of Wisconsin-Madison), The Exonerated (Next Act Theatre), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), The Etiquette of Vigilance (Steppenwolf Theatre), Two Trains Running (Geva Theatre), Master Harold and the Boys (Timeline Theatre), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Piano Lesson (Court Theatre), Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati), Radio Golf (Pittsburgh Public Theatre). Other Chicago credits include: Bourbon at the Border (Eclipse Theatre), Jitney and Two Trains Running (Jeff Citation-Best Acto–Pegasus Players), Panther Burn (MMPAACT), and productions at Goodman Theatre and Victory Gardens Theatre. He was also a co-founder of Onyx Theatre Ensemble.

Photo of Cedric Young

CEDRIC YOUNG has worked at most of Chicago’s theatres as well as many regional houses for nearly thirty years. Jitney is his second appearance on Court’s Theatre’s stage—the first being Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Cedric has performed in numerous August Wilson plays and Jitney is his favorite. Some previous roles include Troy in Fences (also directed by Ron OJ Parson), Walter Lee in A Raisin In the Sun, Crixus in Coming of the Hurricane and Sam in Master Harold and the Boys. He has also appeared in numerous films and television series. He would like to thank his lovely wife Mary for her love and support.  “241 in time.”

Photo of Thomas J. Cox

THOMAS J. COX happily returns to Court Theatre, where he has appeared in Fräulein Else, Raisin, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Thom is a founding ensemble member of Lookingglass Theatre Company, where he has done over thirty productions since 1988, most recently as Hook in Peter Pan (a play). Other credits include Northlight Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, and House Theatre (among many). Directing: Lookingglass Theatre Company, Eclipse Theatre, Piven Theatre Workshop. Film/Television: Since You’ve Been Gone (Miramax Films); Brotherhood (Showtime); Chi-Girl (TriShore Entertainment Inc). Love to Chris and Joanie.

Photo of Stephen Spencer

STEPHEN SPENCER made his Court debut last season in Wait Until Dark. Chicago productions include Congo Square’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Goodman) and The House that Jack Built. As an Associate Artist at Chicago Dramatists he’s performed in countless new play readings and the Jeff Award winning The Liquid Moon. As a founding member of The Shakespeare Project he’s directed or performed in over 30 plays of the Canon. He’s worked regionally and overseas, touring throughout Russia, including Moscow’s Leninsky Komsomol Theatre. He also performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Recent film: Public Enemies; Morning Due (Cannes 2008) Son of America, and Greg’s Leg.

Photo of Kristy Johnson

KRISTY JOHNSON is thrilled to make her Court Theatre debut. Previous credits include: A Song for Coretta (Eclipse Theatre Company), It’s A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (Touring Company, American Theater Company), I Am Who I Am: The Story of Teddy Pendergrass (Black Ensemble Theatre), The Trial (eta Creative Arts Foundation) and others. In 2008, she received a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Most Promising Actress. Kristy is a graduate of Harvard University.

Photo of Kelvin Roston, Jr.

KELVIN ROSTON, JR. counts it a blessing and his absolute pleasure to return to the Court Theatre stage! His previous Court credits are Jim in Porgy and Bess and Sylvester in Ma Rainy's Black Bottom. Other Chicago credits include: Detroit '67 (Northlight), Dreamgirls (Marriott Lincolnshire), Crowns (Goodman), The Jackie Wilson Story (Black Ensemble - Jeff nomination, BTAA winner, Black Excellence Award winner), The Ole Settler (Writers'), Pill Hill (eta Creative Arts Foundation - BTAA winner). Regional and international credits include: Dreamgirls (Theatre Orb [Tokyo, Japan], Festival Hall [Osaka, Japan], Fulton [Lancaster, PA], Maine State Music Theatre [Brunswick, ME]), Ruined, Death and the King's Horseman (St. Louis Black Rep), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (HotCity), Mama (Unity), Beowulf (Metro), and many others. Kelvin is an artistic associate of Congo Square, represented by Paonessa Talent and a pround member of AEA.

Photo of James T. Alfred

JAMES T. ALFRED makes his Court Theatre debut in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. This also marks his third of August Wilson’s ten play cycle. Other Wilson credits include Jitney and Fences, both directed by Obie Award Winning Director Lou Bellamy. Regional credits include The Glass Menagerie (Steppenwolf Theatre), To Kill a Mockingbird (Arizona Theatre Company/KC Rep), RedShirts (Penumbra/Round House Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (American Repertory Theatre), and The Baccae (Moscow Art Studio Theatre). James T. Alfred is a graduate of the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University and holds an M.F.A in Acting from the Moscow Art Theatre School.

Photo of David Chrzanowski

DAVID CHRZANOWSKI is delighted to be working with Court Theatre for the first time. Other Chicago productions include work at: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens, Polarity Ensemble Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Lifeline, Silk Road Theatre Project, The Goodman Theatre, and Apple Tree Theatre. Regional work includes stops at: Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (six seasons), Kentucky Shakespeare (four seasons), Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the Performance Network in his home town of Ann Arbor, and many colleges throughout the Midwest.