There are three larger-than-life personalities on stage in Katori Hall’s two-person play, The Mountaintop: Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, Jackson is playing King, but it’s the three of them that share the stage. In this new play, King returns to his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis after delivering his famous “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech. The night is April 3, 1968—the eve of King’s assassination. As he unwinds from the evening, a housekeeper named Camae delivers him coffee (played by Bassett), and the two proceed to have the most important conversation of King’s life.
The No. 1 Reason To See The Mountaintop: The blending of history and fantasy Read more
Greetings from Los Angeles, Rushers! I’ve been out here on the west coast for over a week participating in the National Endowment for the Arts’ Theater Journalism Institute, and the website we’ve created—Engine 28—is bursting with theater content, relative to both LA and NY folk. My biggest undertaking in the program was producing a theater webshow, featuring top personalities and burning arts-related issues. Here is the result—Off Stage with Engine 28. In this premiere episode, I sit down with Pasadena Playhouse artistic director (and Baby It’s You! director) Sheldon Epps to discuss his controversial statements about Broadway needing a quality evaluation, as well as the upcoming musical version of Sleepless In Seattle. I also sit down with Good People‘s Tate Donovan to discuss the conclusion of that show’s successful run and his thoughts on the LA theater scene.
What do you think, Rushers? What did Sheldon Epps say that most surprised you? How about his hints that Pasadena Playhouse would shift their season so that Angela Bassett could complete her run in The Mountaintop? What do you think of the term “devised theater”? Do you think Tate Donovan’s evaluation of LA theater is accurate? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!