As in her superb staging of August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson’’ at Yale Rep last year (and, for that matter, in her production of Lynn Nottage’s “Ruined’’ at the Huntington, also in 2011), director Liesl Tommy draws strong performances from her cast in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’,’ including Yvette Freeman as the legendary blues singer of the title. But the spellbinding center of the Huntington production is Jason Bowen. In his portrayal of Levee, an ambitious young trumpet player, Bowen delivers a performance of volcanic force, rivaling that of Charles S. Dutton, the original Levee.
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