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August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Friday, October 8, 2021 - Sunday, October 31, 2021

America's Oldest Black Producing Theatre

Upcoming Events

God is Anti-racist (GiA-r), composition no. 1

Artist and social justice advocate Amanda D. King’s debut, solo exhibition, God is Anti-racist (GiA-r), composition no. 1, will be displayed in the George L. Forbes Gallery at Karamu House from September 10 - October 22, 2021. The Gallery will be open Monday - Friday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. On Wednesday, hours are extended until 7 p.m. No tickets or registration is required; however, COVID-19 rules still apply.

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August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

It's 1927 and Ma Rainey, the "Mother of the Blues," is recording new sides of old favorites in a rundown studio in Chicago. Fiery and determined, Ma Rainey fights to retain control over her music, while her cocky trumpet player Levee dreams of making his own name in the business. More than music goes down in August Wilson's riveting portrayal of rage, racism, self-hatred and exploitation.

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Langston Hughes' Black Nativity

"His tone has that intimate, elusive, near-tragic, near-comic sound of the Negro blues, and is equally defiant of analysis" is how a critic described this work by Langston Hughes, who mentions Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman as his main literary influences. As a young man, Hughes participated enthusiastically in the activities of the Karamu Players in Cleveland, and later he was to found Negro theatres in Harlem, Los Angeles and Chicago. He wrote a number of plays and musicals before creating what he calls "the Gospel Song-Play" … which is Black Nativity.

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Community Events

Oberlin College graduates Russell and Rowena Jeliffe opened the Playhouse Settlement in 1915 to offer a place for people of different races, religions, and economic backgrounds to come together through the arts. Today, Karamu House brings together thousands of adults and children every year through community programming and events.

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Arts Education

Karamu House brings together adults and children (of all races and ages) together every year through its arts academy and education programs, including dance, drama and theatre, and vocal performance. The Karamu Arts Academy provides fall and spring semester classes, as well as a summer intensive program. Karamu also partners with local schools and organizations to bring arts education into their programs.

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