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
With a standing-room ticket (because that’s the only way to get into this show without breaking the bank), Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Santo Loquasto’s set, and Brian MacDevitt’s lighting pulled me into 1957 Pittsburg. The night felt like an event. You could chalk it up to the massive Hollywood-star wattage displayed on stage, and you’d be right. The way the audience of the Cort Theatre was buzzing is what Stage Rush is all about—people getting an adrenaline rush from theater. It wasn’t just Washington and Davis’ presence that made it an event though—it was the quality of the piece on display, and the acting chops and production value to match it.
August Wilson’s Fences focuses on Troy Maxson, an intense man who likes to tell big stories in order to make himself seem bigger. While he exhausts his diatribes, all his wife, best friend, and sons can do is wait for him to finish. Troy likes to recount his days as a baseball star, and how the whites stopped him from breaking into the majors. He tells animated tall tales about how he wrestled with death himself, and how he dares him to a repeat match. Troy also lectures about his unfeeling father and the unspeakable violent streak that he had. There is a lot bubbling underneath Troy’s skin, which appears to be harmlessly blustery and jovial above the surface. Read more