Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - 4 Stars - NETFLIX - December, 2020

Playwright August Wilson imagines a record session in Chicago in the 1920s of early jazz/blues singer Ma Rainey, the "Mother of the Blues."    Viola Davis, wearing heavy makes up and flashy teeth, seethes with anger at the racism of the time, while bedeviling the white record executives and managers who stand to profit off her talent. Chadwick Boseman dreams of fame as Levee Green, the trumpeter in Ma's band, suggesting Louis Armstrong.  The production opens up the original play, with scenes in hotels and on the Chicago streets.  Chadwick Boseman, in what will be remembered as his final performance, delivers a  shattering unforgettable monologue.  Ma Rainey's Black bottom earns a place among the year's best as an awards contender.