On the eve of his assassination, DR. Martin Luther King, Jr., cools down in a lonely Memphis hotel room after delivering the speech of a lifetime – when an unexpected visit from a feisty, young hotel maid pushes King into a confrontation with his doubts, fears and haunting premonitions. A soul-stirring hit in London and on Broadway, The Mountaintop's humorous, magical storytelling fuses theatricality with spirituality to reach a summit that will leave audiences breathless. The Mountaintop is written by playwright Katori Hall and will be directed by Rep Artistic Associate May Adrales, who returns to The Rep after directing last season's critically-acclaimed production of Yellowman. The Mountaintop runs in The Rep's Stiemke Studio from September 26 – November 4, and opens Friday, September 28.
"The Mountaintop isn't a biography, per se, but rather a very smart, very funny, very moving and very respectful exploration of the ideas that were occupying Dr. King's mind on the night prior to his death," says Artistic Director Mark Clements. "The maid character is essential to this innately theatrical play, but impossible to describe without giving away a clever twist that the audience will absolutely lap up!"
"It's a great honor and privilege to bring this new production of The Mountaintop to Milwaukee," added Director May Adrales. "It is timely to direct a piece about the great civil rights leader, DR. Martin Luther King, Jr., when there is so much civil discord in America right now. Like the '60s, this country is deeply divided – then it was a "black and white" divide, now it is a "red and blue" divide. Our problems seem as insurmountable now, as I imagine, they did then. But King pressed forward through adversity, marching towards his vision of justice, his "promised land." This play is a living testimony that it is possible to be a strong citizen in a divided, harsh America and my hope is that this production will inspire us to do just that."
The Mountaintop premiered in London in 2009 to great critical acclaim. After a sell-out run at Theatre503, the play transferred to the Trafalgar Studios in the West End. The Mountaintop premiered on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on September 22, 2011 with an official opening on October 13. The production won the Olivier Best New Play Award in 2010 and was nominated for Whatsonstage Awards and Most Promising Playwright in the Evening Standard Awards.
(Please note: the actor performing the role of DR. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a cast change from what was previously announced.)
J. Bernard Calloway (DR. Martin Luther King, Jr.), making his Rep debut, was last seen on Broadway in the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical Memphis where he originated the role of Delray; Off-Broadway he has performed at The Public Theater in the ground-breaking Pulitizer-Prize nominated drama The Good Negro, where he portrayed the role of Henry Evans to rave reviews and received an Audelco Nomination for his work; regional credits include: Jitney, Othello, Piano Lesson, Lobby Hero, A Soldier's Play, Dreamgirls, Aida, Dinah Was and Spunk, to name a few; Nikiya Mathis (Camae), will also be making her Rep debut; New York credits include Kirsten Greenidge's Milk Like Sugar at Playwrights Horizons and La Jolla Playhouse; The Brother/Sister Plays Trilogy at The Public Theater and McCarter Theatre; Seed at Classical Theatre of Harlem Regional and Intimate Apparel at Two River Theater, to name a few; she received her BA at Temple University and her MFA at New York University.
The Creative Team for The Mountaintop includes: Lee Savage (Scenic Designer), a faculty member at Yale School of Drama, has extensive New York credits including Rx (Primary Stages), All-American (LCT3). The Dream of the Burning Boy and Ordinary Days (Roundabout Theatre Company), Oohrah! (Atlantic Theater), The Bereaved (Partial Comfort), punkplay (Clubbed Thumb) and End Days (EST); Holly Payne (Costume Designer), The Rep's Costume Director, has designed several shows at The Rep including The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Lombardi, The Bomb-itty of Errors and Speaking in Tongues; Barry G. Funderburg (Sound Designer), has designed over 50 productions at The Rep including Othello, In The Next Room or the vibrator play, The 39 Steps, The Cherry Orchard and Pride and Prejudice, to name a few; Jared Mezzocchi (Video Designer), a multimedia director and designer for live multimedia performances, holds an MFA at Brooklyn College for Performance and Interactive Media Arts; he has directed at Andy's Playhouse in Wilton, NH as well as directed original works throughout the New York City area; as a video designer, he recently designed The Glass Menagerie (Arena Stage, DC) and continues working with Caden Manson's Big Art Group, The Builders Association, Rob Roth, Untitled Theater Company #61 and at Three Legged Dog; Sandy Ernst, (Casting Director), is The Rep's Associate Artistic Director and Casting Director; Stephanie Klapper (New York Casting Director); is casting Assassins, The Mountaintop and Blues in the Night this season for The Rep; Jill Walmsley Zager (Dialect Coach), returns to The Rep after coaching To Kill a Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol, Lombardi, Yellowman, Ten Chimneys, Cabaret, My Name is Asher Lev, Laurel and Hardy and The 39 Steps; Richelle Harrington Calin (Stage Manager), has stage managed at The Rep since 2004; Jason Simpson (Stage Management Intern), returns to The Rep after being a Stage Management Intern last season; Kaitlin Kitzmiller (Stage Management Intern) and Maggie Ellsworth (Assistant Director).