New York: New American Library, 1985. Book Club Edition. First Edition Hardcover. With "P19" stamped to left bottom of page 109
Octavo. (21.5 cm.) Full crimson-red boards. Dust jacket in crimson and white with striking image of the title character. Chipping at corners of jacket with some loss but not affecting type nor image. Short, closed tear to top left corner of jacket with some soiling to rear panel. "William T. Brown" stamped in black to top of front free endpaper, also with a list of names and stage positions and two contact phone numbers. Highlighting to the part of "Ma Rainey" beginning on page 38 as well as penciled stage directions. Small yellow slip of notebook paper taped to rear endpaper. Slip of paper with name, address and phone number of unknown person, presumably a past owner. Item #22
"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" is the only play of August Wilson's 10 plays in the "Pittsburgh Cycle" not set in Pittsburgh. It is set in Chicago, where the near-mythic blues performer "Ma Rainey" is scheduled to record one of her most famous songs. Wilson's plays are a 100-year journey through the African-American experience; the sorrow, the idealism, the painful decisions, and ultimately the very American problem of trying to be included in the forward momentum of the culture without sacrificing the past. The play is simple: Ma Rainey wishes to record her songs for posterity but her black band, and her white managers struggle for dominance and vision in a society where a black artistic genius is practically invisible and cannot even hail a taxi when she is not performing. Winner of the 1985 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play. Considered a giant among American playwrights, August Wilson's signature and inscriptions are both extremely collectible and scarce due to his untimely death in 2005. Contains photos of the original cast which included Charles S. Dutton and and Theresa Merritt. This particular book is obviously a working copy for a theater group's production which was personally witnessed by Wilson. Inscribed on the half title by the author, "Wonderful Work! Thank you. August Wilson."