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Denzel Washington to Produce Netflix Adaptation of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

The feature adaptation of the play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is coming to Netflix! Viola Davis, most famous for her role in Fences, is set to star alongside Glynn Turnman, Colman Domingo, Chadwick Boseman, and Michael Potts. Denzel Washington has been officially confirmed as the producer. Although the adaptation was initially set for release on HBO, the deal has since moved over to Netflix.





Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is originally written by August Wilson. The play is set in Chicago in the late 1920s, tackling issues of race and religion, as well as the exploitation of black recording artists by white producers.


Image Via Variety


According to Deadline, it was always Washington’s proposition to produce the Wilson play rather than starring or directing. It was arranged to be the next Wilson adaptation after Fences, which grossed around $65 million. Given the success of the source material, the adaptation is sure to be a smashing success.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom debuted on Broadway in 1984, showing 276 performances before eventually closing in 1985. It was nominated for a Tony award and won the 1984 New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The play was also revived in 2003 and starred Whoopi Goldberg.



It’s great to see Davis and Washington working together on a project once again, as in the past they proved to be capable of creating incredible performances. In 2010, they both starred in a Broadway adaptation of Wilson’s play Fences and each received Tony awards, demonstrating their remarkable creative synchronicity. They also worked together in the film adaptation of the same play, in which Davis won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The movie also was nominated three times.

This adaptation will pair Denzel Washington and Viola Davis for the third time working on a piece by August Wilson. Production will begin next month in Pittsburgh.




Featured Image Via Shortlist.