Film: Playwright August Wilson began his chronicle of the African-American experience throughout the 20th century, one decade at a time, with 1984’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a fictional look at the so-called “Mother of the Blues” in a tension-filled recording session at a Chicago race label in 1927. Now director George C. Wolfe has brought the tale to the screen, with a pair of Oscar nomination shoo-in performances by Viola Davis in the title role and the late Chadwick Boseman as Levee, the ambitious, impatient horn player. Wolfe opens up the play from its recording studio confines, but his concentration is on the music of Wilson’s drama. After a brief exposure in theaters, Ma Rainey is available for streaming beginning this weekend on Netflix.
Theater: Although its theater has been closed by the COVID pandemic, Palm Beach Dramaworks has remained busy creating Zoom-streamed productions. This Monday evening at 7:30 p.m., it offers a holiday perennial, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, in a narrative form read by a group of PBD veteran performers. In addition such area favorites as Elizabeth Dimon, Patti Gardner, Bruce Linser, Colin McPhillamy, Karen Stephens and Laura Turnbull, company co-founders William Hayes and Sue Ellen Beryl will be featured, along with Oscar winner Estelle Parsons (My Old Lady) and Wall Street Journal theater critic Terry Teachout (Satchmo at the Waldorf). Tickets are free, but reservations are required. Call the box office at 561-514-4042, ext. 2, or click onto www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.