Jan. 15-16: Award-winning play imagines Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night

By Gail Siegel, WSU Performing Arts

The Mountaintop posterPULLMAN, Wash. – Acclaimed radio theatre company L.A. Theatre Works will present Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop,” 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, at WSU’s Jones Theatre.

“The Mountaintop” is an award-winning play that imagines Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night on earth.

King was assassinated April 4, 1968, outside room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. What happened inside room 306 the night before the killing is a mystery. In “The Mountaintop,” Hall imagines what may have transpired in the overnight hours between the legendary civil rights leader and a seemingly inconsequential motel maid.

Hours after King’s famed final speech, punctuated by the immortal line “I’ve been to the mountaintop,” the celebrated reverend reveals his hopes, regrets and fears, creating a masterful bridge between mortality and immortality.

“The Mountaintop” won the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Play (2010). It has been praised as “wondrous, hilarious and heartbreaking” by London’s Independent and “a powerful, poetic take on (King’s) legacy” by the Los Angeles Times.

Gilbert Glenn Brown as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Karen Malina White as Camae, in L.A. Theatre Works production of “The Mountaintop.” Photo by Matt Petit
Gilbert Glenn Brown as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Karen Malina White as Camae, in L.A. Theatre Works production of “The Mountaintop.” Photo by Matt Petit

The production is directed by Shirley Jo Finney and stars Gilbert Glenn Brown as King and Karen Malina White as Camae, the enigmatic maid.

Reserved seating costs $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (ages 60 and up) and $9 for non-WSU students and youth. WSU student admission is free with valid ID. A discounted rate of $14 per person is available to groups of eight or more.

Tickets are on sale now at all TicketsWest outlets, including online at TicketsWest.com, by phone at 800-325-SEAT, and in person at WSU’s Beasley Coliseum and the Rosauers Supermarket in Lewiston. Advance tickets are subject to convenience charges unless purchased at the Beasley Coliseum ticket office. The Daggy Hall box office will open for ticket sales and will-call beginning two hours before each performance.

L.A. Theatre Works has been the foremost radio theatre company in the United States for more than 25 years. Its performances feature first-rate casts and live sound effects, creating sound-rich, intimate experiences that draw audiences into the stories and performances.

White has received two NAACP Image Awards as well as the L.A. Drama Critics Award and the L.A. Ovation Award. She has been seen on screen in “Lean on Me” with Morgan Freeman and numerous independent films such as “The Ties That Bind” and “Where Do We Go from Here.” Her television credits include “The Cosby Show,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Living Single,” “Animal Kingdom” and “Veep,” among many others.

Brown is an accomplished stage actor with credits ranging from the Goodman Theatre to True Colors Theatre Company to the National Black Theatre Festival. Television appearances include “Stranger Things,” “Valor,” “CSI: Miami,” “Cold Case,” “The Shield” and others. On film, he’s been seen in “Dreamgirls,” “Best of Enemies,” “Drumline II” and “Raising the Heights.”

Finney is a multiaward-winning director with credits that include the Goodman Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, McCarter Theater, Humana Festival, Kennedy Center and Sundance Theater Workshop, among many others.

“The Mountaintop” is presented by WSU Performing Arts and the WSU Office of Equity and Diversity as part of WSU’s 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. events, with generous support from the Residence Inn by Marriott Pullman and Courtyard by Marriott Pullman.

Convenient parking for both performances will be available without permits or fees in the Daggy Hall parking garage and in the Green 3 lot directly across the street from Daggy Hall.

This production contains some mature language.