Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Photos and Video: Two River Theater’s Production of MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM Starring Arnetia Walker, Brandon J. Dirden, Michael Cumpsty, James A. Williams and More

Arnetia Walker as Ma Rainey in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Arnetia Walker as Ma Rainey in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Two River Theater (Artistic Director John Dias, Managing Director Michael Hurst) presents August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. The press opening is Friday, September 16 at 8pm and performances will continue through Sunday, October 9 in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, NJ.  Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org.

Brandon J. Dirden as Levee in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Brandon J. Dirden as Levee in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Featured in the cast are Chanté Adams (Dussie May), Harvy Blanks (Slow Drag), Brian D. Coats (Toledo), Michael Cumpsty (Irvin), Brandon J. Dirden (Levee), Bob Mackasek (Policeman), Marcel Spears (Sylvester), Peter Van Wagner (Sturdyvant), Arnetia Walker (Ma Rainey), and James A. Williams (Cutler).

Arnetia Walker (Ma Rainey, in green dress) and Chanté Adams (Dussie May, in yellow dress), center, perform “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” with members of the Company in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Arnetia Walker (Ma Rainey, in green dress) and Chanté Adams (Dussie May, in yellow dress), center, perform “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” with members of the Company in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

The creative team for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom includes scenic designer Charlie Corcoran, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designerBurke Brown, and sound designer Rob Kaplowitz. The original music is by Bill Sims Jr. & Kenny Rampton, the fight direction is by Thomas Schall, the casting is by Heidi Griffith & Kate Murray, and the stage manager is Laura Wilson.  

Arnetia Walker as Ma Rainey with James A. Williams (Cutler), Brian D. Coats (Toledo), and Harvy Blanks (Slow Drag) in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Arnetia Walker as Ma Rainey with James A. Williams (Cutler), Brian D. Coats (Toledo), and Harvy Blanks (Slow Drag) in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Peter Van Wagner (Sturdyvant), Michael Cumpsty (Irvin), Arnetia Walker (Ma Rainey) and Marcel Spears (Sylvester) in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Peter Van Wagner (Sturdyvant), Michael Cumpsty (Irvin), Arnetia Walker (Ma Rainey) and Marcel Spears (Sylvester) in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Two River Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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