Jackson to Play THE MOUNTAINTOP Without Berry; Previews Begin Sept. 22 at Bernard Jacobs Theater
Katori Hall's The Mountaintop will hit Broadway this fall, however, with only one of it's previously announced stars. Samuel L. Jackson will open the play as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his Broadway debut, however the team is in search of a new Camae, as Halle Berry has departed the piece due to child custody issues."
The Mountaintop will begin performances on September 22, 2011, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th Street), with an official opening on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Tickets for The Mountaintop will go on sale at a later date.
The Mountaintop is produced by Jean Doumanian Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions, Ambassador Theatre Group, Jerry Frankel, Ted Snowdon, Bob Bartner, and Tom Wirtshafter.
In a joint statement, Ms. Doumanian and Ms. Friedman said, "The Mountaintop is a brilliantly conceived gem of a play. An ambitious work of fiction that is powerful, heartbreaking, humorous and exhilarating. We are thrilled to be bringing Katori Hall's remarkable, Olivier-winning work to New York, and to present a singular new American voice to Broadway audiences. And we are honored to be presenting the Broadway debut of the great Samuel L. Jackson."
Taking place on April 3, 1968, The Mountaintop is a gripping reimagining of events the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as he retires to Room 306 in the now famous Lorraine Motel in Memphis, after delivering his legendary ‘I've Been to the Mountaintop' speech to a massive church congregation. When room-service is delivered by a young woman, whose identity we puzzle over, King is forced to confront his past, as well as his legacy to his people.
The Mountaintop received its world premiere to critical acclaim in a three-week run at Theatre 503 in June 2009, and subsequently transferred to the West End's Trafalgar Studio 1. The production featured powerful performances by David Harewood as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Lorraine Burroughs as the mysterious Camae, under the direction of James Dacre. The Mountaintop also received two Evening Standard Awards Nominations, including Most Promising Playwright, and was awarded the coveted 2010 Olivier Award for Best Play. This year, Ms. Hall also received the Susan Smith Blackburn prize.
Samuel L. Jackson (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) is one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood. His films have grossed the most money in box office sales than any other actor in the history of filmmaking. Jackson made an indelible mark on American cinema with his portrayal of Jules, the philosophizing hitman, in Quentin Tarantino?s Pulp Fiction. He received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, as well as a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor. Most recently, he was seen in HBO?s "The Sunset Limited," an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy?s play directed by and co-starring Tommy Lee Jones. His career began onstage upon his graduation from Morehouse College with a degree in dramatic arts. He originated roles in two of August Wilson?s plays at Yale Repertory Theatre. For the New York Shakespeare Festival, Jackson appeared in Mother Courage and Her Children, Spell #7, and The Mighty Gents. In September 2010, Jackson played P.K. Highsmith in Columbia Pictures? The Other Guys. Additionally, he co-starred in the indie drama, Mother and Child, directed by Rodrigo Garcia and received an Image Award and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his work. Jackson was also seen in Marvel?s Iron Man 2 as Nick Fury, after making a surprise cameo appearance in Iron Man in 2008. In April 2011 he will once again play Nick Fury in Marvel?s The Avengers, another film in his unprecedented nine-picture deal with Marvel, that will be released in May 2012. In June 2011, Jackson will film Havana Heat, followed by Borderland. Other recent film credits include Lakeview Terrace, Soul Men (alongside the late Bernie Mac), The Spirit, Jumper, Resurrecting the Champ, 1408 (based on the Stephen King novel), Black Snake Moan, Home of the Brave, the cult classic Snakes on a Plane, Freedomland and The Man. On television, Jackson starred in John Frankenheimer?s Emmy Award-winning "Against the Wall" for HBO. His performance earned him a Cable Ace nomination as Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries, as well as a Golden Globe nomination. He serves as Executive Producer for the animated series for Spike TV, "Afro Samurai" which premiered in 2007 and returned for a third season in January 2009. The series received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Animated Program from the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences. The first edition of the "Afro Samurai" video game launched in February 2009. Jackson?s UppiTV secured two projects at CBS, a multi- camera comedy from writer Bob Kushell and a medical drama from writer Andrea Newman. In 2010, Jackson extended a first-look television deal with CBS Studios and their properties to produce and develop upcoming projects for another two years. Jackson and Neil LaBute are currently developing a series for Showtime.
Katori Hall (Playwright). Plays include Hoodoo Love which was produced Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and The Mountaintop, which was recently produced to great acclaim at London?s Theatre 503 and transferred to the Trafalgar Studios in London?s West End. Other plays include Remembrance, Hurt Village, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, On the Chitlin' Circuit, Oreogirl and Freedom Train. Her work has been developed and presented at the Bay Area Playwrights? Festival, the American Repertory Theatre, Kennedy Center, Classical Theatre of Harlem, BRICLab, Women?s Project, Lark Play Development Center, New Professional Theatre, Stanford University, and Columbia University. Hall has been published as a book reviewer, journalist, and essayist in publications such as The Boston Globe, Essence and Newsweek. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2009- 2010 Lark Play Development Center Playwrights of New York Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship from the Public Theatre, two Le Compte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, NYSCA Grant, New Professional Theatre Writers? Festival award, Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, NYFA Fellowship, Royal Court Theatre Residency and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award. She has been a Kennedy Center Playwriting Fellow at the O?Neill. She was a member of the 2007- 2008 Lark Playwrights? Workshop and the 2006-2008 Women?s Project Playwrights? Lab. She is currently the playwright-in-residence at the Women?s Project. She is a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer's Group at Primary Stages and the Old Vic New Voices program. As an actor, Hall?s credits include Law & Order: SVU, The President's Puppets (The Public), Growing Up a Slave (American Place Theatre), Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (American Place Theatre), the world premiere of Amerika (Theatre de la Juene Lune/American Repertory Theatre), Spring Awakening (Moscow Art Theatre School), Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Schooled (WOW Café Theatre) and Black Girl (Sande Shurin Theatre). She graduated undergrad from Columbia University in 2003 with a major in African-American Studies and Creative Writing. She was awarded top departmental honors from the university?s Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS). In 2005, she graduated from the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University with a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. She is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School?s Lila Acheson Wallace playwriting program. She is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and lives in New York City.
Kenny Leon (Director), a Julia Hansen Award winning and Tony nominated director, he is one of the most exciting and acclaimed Directors in American theatre today. In June 2010 his hit Tony Award Broadway show Fences garnered 10 Tony Nominations, including Best Director, the most nominations ever for a play revival, set box office records and received the Tony award for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor and Best Actress. Past Tony nominations include, his Broadway productions of Radio Golf, Gem of the Ocean and A Raisin in the Sun (starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald). Mr. Leon was nominated for Best Director by the Directors Guild of America for the film version of A Raisin in the Sun which also received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and won 3 NAACP Image Awards. He is the recipient of many awards including the Drama League?s, Julia Hansen Award for a lifetime of Excellence in Theatre, MIT Eugene McDermott Humanitarian Award, NAACP Theater?s Trailblazer Award, as well as the Abby and Christopher Awards. He has been featured on "CBS Sunday Morning," CNN, NBC, Charlie Rose and PBS, among other shows. He was also featured as People?s Magazine 50 Most Beautiful and the "Face of Martell?s? national and international advertising campaign. In September of 2010, Leon directed the world premiere of Every Tongue Confess at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Prior to founding Kenny Leon?s True Colors Theatre Company, he served 11 years as Artistic Director of the Alliance Theatre. Kenny?s directorial credits span an incomparable range of work, from classic theatre, to drama, to comedy, to opera, to musicals, to musical revues, to film. He's directed extensively around the country, including, among others, Chicago?s Goodman Theatre, Boston?s Huntington Theatre, Connecticut?s Long Wharf Theatre and Hartford Stage, Baltimore?s Center Stage, Los Angeles? Center Theatre Group, Milwaukee Reparatory, New York?s Public Theatre, Atlanta?s Fox Theatre, Seattle Reparatory, Georgia Shakespeare, San Jose Reparatory, Dallas Theatre Center, and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Mr. Leon served as Artistic Director of the 10-play August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center marking the first time all ten plays were produced in repertory under one roof. He staged the world premiere of Toni Morrison?s opera Margaret Garner, featuring mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves at the Michigan Opera House and the Auditorium here in Chicago. Margaret Garner was also produced at Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Cincinnati Opera. He produced Disney and Elton John?s Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, Alfred Uhry?s The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Pearl Cleage?s Flying West and Blues For an Alabama Sky, among others. In collaboration with Jujamcyn Theatres he produces the August Wilson Monologue Competition, an annual competition currently in 6 major cities that provide workshops and training to hundreds of teenagers for competition in national finals on Broadway and is producing a documentary film about the importance of „The Arts? in our lives. Holding honorary doctorates from Roosevelt University, among others, Mr. Leon is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University. He has given workshops and has been the featured speaker for many arts organizations, corporations, universities, awards shows, political gatherings and churches, including, Aspen Ideas Festival, Yale, Northwestern, Tish, Coca-Cola, Grantmakers of America, and Association of Performing Arts in New York, to name a few.