THE MOUNTAINTOP Opens The Rep's Stiemke Studio Season
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).
May Adrales (Director) is proud to be an Artistic Associate at Milwaukee Rep and honored to direct Katori Hall's The Mountaintop. Previously, she directed Dael Orlandersmith's Yellowman at The Rep. She has developed and directed work at Goodman Theatre, The Public Theater, Roundabout Theatre, Second Stage Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, Primary Stages, Partial Comfort Productions and Actors Theatre of Louisville. She is a Drama League Directing Fellow, Van Lier Fellow, Women's Project Lab Director, Soho Rep Writers/Directors Lab and NYTW directing fellow alum and recipient of the TCG New Generations Grant, Denham Fellowship and Paul Green Directing Award. She is a former Artistic Program Director (Lark Play Development Center) and Artistic Associate (The Public Theater). She received her MFA from Yale School of Drama and is currently on the faculty. Recent and upcoming productions: Katori Hall's Whaddabloodclot!!! (Williamstown Theatre Festival), David Henry Hwang's Dance and the Railroad (Signature Theatre) and Stefanie Zadrevec's Electric Baby (Two River Theatre Company).
Katori Hall (Playwright) is a playwright/performer from Memphis, Tennessee. Hurt Village won the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and was finalist for the Ruby Award. The script is being adapted into a film and was developed at the 2011 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Hall's other plays include: The Mountaintop (2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play), which recently ran on Broadway at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre starring Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson. Children of Killers (National Theatre, UK), Hoodoo Love (Cherry Lane Theatre), Remembrance (Women's Project), Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, Whaddabloodclot!!!, The Hope Well, Our Lady of Kibeho and Pussy Valley. Her awards include the Lark Play Development Center Playwrights of New York (PONY) Fellowship, the Arena Stage American Voices New Play Residency, the Kate NeAl Kinley Fellowship, two Lecomte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, a NYFA Fellowship, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award. Hall's journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, UK's The Guardian, Essence, Newsweek and The Commercial Appeal. The Mountaintop and Katori Hall: Plays One are published by Methuen Drama. Hall is an alumna of Lark Playwrights' Workshop, where she developed The Mountaintop, and is a graduate of Columbia University, The A.R.T. at Harvard University and The Julliard School. She is a proud member of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, The Dramatists Guild and The Fellowship of Southern Writers.
Tickets for The Mountaintop are from $25 - $40 (prices are subject to change). Half-price RUSH TICKETS are available 30 minutes before curtain time based on availability at The Rep's Ticket Office. Single Tickets for all of Milwaukee Repertory Theater's 2012/13 productions are now on sale and can be purchased online at www.MilwaukeeRep.com, through The Rep's Ticket Office by calling 414-224-9490 or in person at 108 E. Wells Street. Group tickets are also available for purchase by calling Patron Relations Manager Christine Yundem at 414-290-5340.