James T. Alfred and Erika LaVonn to Star in Penumbra's THE MOUNTAINTOP at the Guthrie; Cast Announced!

On the heels of successful presentations of A Raisin in the Sun, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and The Amen Corner, the Guthrie Theater welcomes the return of the acclaimed Penumbra Theatre Company with The Mountaintop - the recipient of the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play - written by Katori Hall and directed by Penumbra Founder and Co-Artistic Director Lou Bellamy. The Mountaintop begins performances on March 28 and continues through April 19. Single tickets start at $34 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Theater Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244 (Group Sales) and online at www.guthrietheater.org.

Set in Memphis in 1968, The Mountaintop is a bold re-imagining of the events that occurred on the eve of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. Exhausted from delivering his most memorable speech, we find Dr. King resting in his room at the Lorraine Motel when an unexpected visit from a feisty young maid brings surprising news. Through this encounter, Dr. King is forced to confront his doubts, destiny and legacy to his people. A soul-stirring hit in London and on Broadway, The Mountaintop's dramatic, magical storytelling gives us insight into King the man, and reaches a summit that will leave you surprised and breathless.

The Mountaintop features the talents of James T. Alfred and Erika LaVonn as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Camae respectively. Twin Cities' audiences will recognize Alfred from his work at Penumbra Theatre Company, including productions of August Wilson's Two Trains Running, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (presented at the Guthrie Theater) and Fences. LaVonn returns to the Guthrie stage for the first time since Penumbra's 2009 production of A Raisin in the Sun. LaVonn has performed at several regional theaters from coast to coast, including Actors Theatre of Louisville and Hartford Stage, and has played the roles of Nala and Sarabi in the Broadway production of The Lion King.

The artistic team includes Vicki M. Smith (Scenic Designer), Kish Finnegan (Costume Designer), Don Darnutzer (Lighting Designer), Martin Gwinup (Sound and Video Designer) and Mary K. Winchell (Stage Manager).

The Guthrie is thrilled to welcome the work of Katori Hall -- lauded as "young, gifted and fearlessly redefining theater" by the Washington Post -- to the McGuire Proscenium Stage in her Guthrie debut. Hailed as "daring, rousing and provocative" by Entertainment Weekly and "soul-stirring" by Variety, The Mountaintop received the 2010 Olivier Award for Best Play and earned playwright Katori Hall the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

The Mountaintop opens March 28 and continues through April 19, on the McGuire Proscenium Stage. Single tickets start at $34 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244 (Group Sales) and online at www.guthrietheater.org.

PENUMBRA THEATRE was founded in 1976 by Lou Bellamy to make socially responsible art - art that demanded a response, art with intent, art that could create change. At a time when roles for black artists were limited to stereotypes and comical representations, Penumbra produced theater that roared with authenticity through the unrestrained and rich voice of black artists and playwrights. This respect for cultural authenticity became Penumbra's signature style - and demand for it has reached new heights from theaters around the country fostering collaborations, new productions, tours and awards. For the latest news and updates, visit www.penumbratheatre.org.

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joe Dowling, Director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The Tony Award-winning Guthrie Theater is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. With annual attendance of nearly 500,000 people, the Guthrie Theater presents a mix of classic plays and contemporary work on its three stages. Under the artistic leadership of Joe Dowling since 1995, the Guthrie continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. In 2006, the Guthrie opened its new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms and dramatic public lobbies. www.guthrietheater.org.

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