THE MOUNTAINTOP to Launch People's Light's 2016-17 Season
On the eve of a day that would forever change America, an irreverent and mysterious maid visits DR. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, and inspires the civil rights leader to reexamine his strongest beliefs and dearest hopes.
In the Olivier Award-winning drama The Mountaintop, playing on the Steinbright Stage at People's Light from September 28-October 30, 2016, playwright Katori Hall guides us to the summit of MLK's historic life to offer a stunning new view of his dream for our nation. People's Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355. For tickets, call 610.644.3500 or visit peopleslight.org.
People's Light Artistic Director & CEO AbiGail Adams and Producing Director Zak Berkman chose The Mountaintop to launch the company's 42nd Season after conferring with Hall about all that has transpired in politics and race relations since her play first premiered in 2009.
"We discussed with Katori the sunset of the Obama presidency, the impact of his administration, and how it shapes the way our country now wrestles with its identity," says Berkman. "How the #blacklivesmatter movement continues to transform public awareness of injustice and inequality in our nation, and impacts how we look at King's legacy, his dreams and his demons today.
"Our conversations made it clear that The Mountaintop is the perfect play to open our season of works by American writers," Berkman says.
Adams, Berkman, and Hall determined together to invite Steve H. Broadnax III to direct the production. Broadnax recently directed a workshop of Dominique Morisseau's Mud Row at People's Light as part of the company's innovative New Play Frontiers Residency & Commission program.
Broadnax says that he finds The Mountaintop intensely relevant, largely because of the compelling parallels between America in 1968 and today. "As I watch the news and see the state of our nation today, I feel saddened and outraged," he says. "The assassination of young black lives at the hands of police, riots, the hunting and killing of police officers, the controversial presidential election, war, poverty, injustice, and actions fueled by racism.
"I watch images and stories play repeatedly in the media, and it becomes hard for me to differentiate between the 1960s and today," Broadnax says. "The images look identical."
For Broadnax, these connections mean that The Mountaintop speaks directly to our current social and political challenges. "In this play, we get to see Dr. King as a human being with fears and flaws who accomplished extraordinary feats. He was a hero. And the play calls for us to see the hero in ourselves.
"Dr. King provides an example of the power of humanity," Broadnax says. "The Mountaintop calls on us to pick up the baton and continue his dream, to fight injustice, and to love one another until we are all 'free at last.'"
The cast features University of the Arts alum Bowman Wright as DR. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Penn State graduate Patrese D. McClain as Camae. Both actors make their People's Light debut with this production.
The Mountaintop marks Director Steve H. Broadnax III's People's Light debut. The production team includes Set Designer Tony Cisek in his first collaboration with People's Light. Returning guest artist Joshua Schulman (Barcelona, Fallow, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) designs lights. Resident artist Marla Jurglanis creates costumes. Justin Ellington (The Harassment of Iris Malloy, All my Sons) returns as Sound Designer. Resident artist Gina Pisasale serves as Dramaturg. Returning guest and former company member Deborah Teller stage manages.
The Mountaintop runs approximately 95 minutes with no intermission. Best enjoyed by ages 13+.
Join the cast for an informal Q&A after every Thursday evening (10/6, 10/13, 10/20, 10/27) and Sunday matinee performance (10/9, 10/16, 10/23, 10/30).
As with every People's Light production, we offer Scoop on Wednesdays: History, Context, and Gossip, a lively discussion before Wednesday 7:30pm performances. Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale hosts an artist from the production to get the inside scoop about the rehearsal process, design choices, and the world of the play. Programs begin at 6pm in The Farmhouse Bistro on October 5, 12, 19 and 26. Cost of $15 includes light fare. Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500 or make reservations online through the performance calendar.
People's Light will present Open Caption performances of The Mountaintop on October 5 at 2 & 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 9 at 2pm.
Enjoy prix fixe Dinner and A Show packages for $76 (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday matinee, Sunday evening) and $85 (Friday, Saturday evening, Sunday matinee) at The Farmhouse Bistro. That's a savings of up to 15% off the single ticket price. Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500.
Located next to the Bistro is a full service catering venue, The Farmhouse at People's Light, perfect for weddings, corporate events, and special celebrations. Call the Sales Team at 610.647.1631 x156.
People's Light invites you to enjoy SEPTA Saturdays. The Route 204 bus, which runs between the Paoli train station and the Theatre campus, services patrons before and after Saturday 2pm matinee performances. Visit www.septa.org for details.
The Mountaintop previews on Wednesday, September 28 at 7:30, Thursday, September 29 at 7:30 and Friday, September 30 at 7:30pm. The play opens on Saturday, October 1 and runs through Sunday, October 30.
Standard single tickets start at $38. Community Night tickets are $28 for the 7:30 pm performances on September 28, 29, and 30. For tickets, call the Box Office at 610.644.3500. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase group tickets, call 610.647.1900 x111 or email email@example.com.
7-play subscription packages for the 2016-2017 season are available for purchase and start at $161. Productions include The Mountaintop (September 28-October 30, 2016), Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto (November 16, 2016-January 15, 2017), The Matchmaker (February 15-March 12, 2017), I and You (March 29-April 23, 2017), The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (April 29-June 4, 2017), Project Dawn (June 7-July 9, 2017), and Moon Over Buffalo (July 19-August 13, 2017). You may upgrade to the Ultimate Premiere Package, which includes all 7 plays plus The Road: My Life with John Denver (December 3, 2016-January 15, 2017) and Surviving Twin, written and performed by Loudon Wainwright III (January 21-February 5, 2017). The new multi-generational Spark Series for adults and children ages 5-12 starts at $56 and includes Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. The Teen Series for adults and children ages 12-19 includes The Mountaintop, Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto, The Matchmaker, I and You, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Visit peopleslight.org or call 610-644-3500 to order.
Actors, prices, productions, performance dates and times are subject to change. Additional service charges will apply. Contact the Box Office for more details.
Now in its 42nd season, People's Light, a professional, not-for-profit theatre in Chester County, Pennsylvania, makes plays drawn from many sources to entertain, inspire, and engage our community. We extend our mission of making and experiencing theatre through arts education programs that excite curiosity about, and deepen understanding of, the world around us. These plays and programs bring people together and provide opportunities for reflection, discovery, and celebration. Founded in 1974, we produce eight to nine plays each season, in two black box theatres with 340 and 160 seats respectively, mixing world premieres, contemporary plays, and fresh approaches to classic texts for our 7-Play, Spark, and Teen Series.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Katori Hall Playwright
Hall's plays include: The Mountaintop (2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play), which ran on Broadway in 2011 starring Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson (for two theatrical seasons, the play has been one of the most produced plays in America), Hurt Village (2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), Children of Killers, Hoodoo Love, Remembrance, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, WHADDABLOODCLOT!!!, Our Lady of Kibeho, Pussy Valley and The Blood Quilt. Her plays have been presented on six continents, and she is currently under commission to write a new play for the UK's National Theatre. Awards include: Lark Play Development Center Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellowship, Arena Stage American Voices New Play Residency, Kate NeAl Kinley Fellowship, two Lecomte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, NYFA Fellowship, Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, Columbia University John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement, Otto Rene Castillo Award for Political Theatre, and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award. Hall is an alumna of the Lark Playwrights' Workshop and a graduate of Columbia University, the American Repertory Theater Institute at Harvard University, and the Juilliard School. She is a proud member of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, the Coca-Cola Scholar Program, the Dramatists Guild, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She is currently a member of the Residency Five at Signature Theatre in New York City.
Steve H. Broadnax III Director
People's Light debut. Theatre Includes: Associate Director of Pennsylvania Centre Stage. Directing credits include various shows and theatres nationally and internationally including: Apollo Theatre NYC, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Atlantic Theatre NYC, Detroit Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, The Black Theatre Troupe in Phoenix, AZ, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Moore Theatre in Seattle, Market Theatre Johannesburg SA, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, National Arts Festival in South Africa, and The Adelaide Arts Festival Australia. The Hip Hop Project, an award-winning, full-length original play directed, choreographed, and conceived by Steve, has toured nationally and was showcased at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C. Other writings include American Taboo, another award winning full-length play, Camouflage (Eugene O'Neil semi-finalist), Hard to Say I Love You (a one-act), and Sex, Love, and Everything in Between (A New Musical). As a member of Actor's Equity Association, Steve toured nationally and internationally. Steve was cast in Dreamgirls at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock; paid homage to blues legend Robert Johnson in his self-authored one-man show, R.L. at the Crossroads; and has worked in theatres such as Pennsylvania Centre Stage, St. Louis Black Rep, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, St. Louis Muny, Lincoln Amphitheatre, Westport Playhouse, and Ozark Actors Theatre. Training: BFA, Conservatory of Fine Arts Webster University; MFA, Penn State University; currently Associate Professor of Theatre and Head of the MFA Graduate Acting Program at Penn State University.
Patrese D. McClain Camae
People's Light debut. Theatre Includes: Cocked (Victory Gardens); Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight (Windy City Playhouse); White Guy On The Bus (Northlight, Jeff Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress 2015); Tartuffe, Misanthrope, Spunk (Court Theatre, Jeff Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress for Spunk 2011). Regional: Two Trains Running (Geva Theatre Center); Crumbs From the Table of Joy (Mustard Seed), Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, For Colored Girls, No Child... (Black Rep, St. Louis Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress for No Child ... 2013). Film/Television Includes: NBC Chicago Fire, USA Sirens, ABC Detroit 1-8-7. Training: MFA, Pennsylvania State University; BFA Howard University. Website: www.patresedmcclain.com
People's Light debut. Theatre Includes: Last seen at the Arena Stage in All the Way as DR. Martin Luther King Jr.; Guitars (Actor's Theatre of Louisville), King Hedley (Arena Stage), Our Lady of Kibeho (Signature Theatre Company), Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theatre Center), A Midsummer Night's Dream (La Jolla Playhouse), The Dreamer Examines His Pillow (Shakespeare & Company). Film/Television Includes: Person of Interest, Blue Bloods, Elementary and Sight. Training: MFA, University of California, San Diego; BFA, University of the Arts.