The Mountaintop: Kenny Leon to direct Olivier play




Jean Doumanian Productions, in partnership with Sonia Friedman Productions, are on track to mount the American Premiere of The Mountaintop this Fall for the upcoming 2010-11 Season. It has now been confirmed that Kenny Leon (Fences, A Raisin in the Sun) will direct the poduction.

American playwright Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop was named Best Play at the 2010 Olivier Awards in London on 21 Mar 2010. Marking the first time a female African American playwright has received the honor in the Olivier Awards’ 34-year history. Hall’s play was nominated alongside such new works as 'Jerusalem,' 'Enron' and 'Red' - all of which are to be presented on Broadway during the 2010-2011 season.

In an earlier joint statement, Ms. Doumanian and Ms. Friedman said, "The Mountaintop is a brilliantly conceived gem of a play. An ambitious work of fiction that is powerful, heartbreaking, humorous and exhilarating. We are honored to be bringing Katori Hall’s remarkable work to New York, and to present a singular new American playwright to Broadway audiences.”

Taking place on April 3, 1968, The Mountaintop is a reimagining of events the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., as he retires to Room 306 in the now famous Lorraine Motel in Memphis, after delivering his legendary ‘From the mountaintop’ speech to a massive church congregation. When room-service is delivered by a young woman, whose identity we puzzle over, King is forced to confront his past, as well as his legacy to his people.

The Mountaintop received its world premiere to critical acclaim in a three-week run at Theatre 503 in Jun 2009, and subsequently transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studio 1. The production featured performances by David Harewood as 'Martin Luther King, Jr.,' and Lorraine Burroughs as the mysterious 'Camae,' under the direction of James Dacre.

The play opened to excellent reviews: An ambitious work of historical fiction draped in magical realism. (Time Out UK); "Sometimes a play comes out of the blue and knocks everyone for six… It is a beautiful and startling piece… A play that keeps you marveling to the end.” (The Telegraph); Wondrous, hilarious, and heartbreaking. (The Independent); Faultless. (The Times); and Future life Stateside is beyond doubt (Variety).

Katori Hall, an American actress and playwright, grew up in Memphis and is a child of the post-civil rights era. She is a recent graduate from the Juilliard School playwriting program and was the recent recipient of William Inge Theatre Festival's 2010 Otis Guernsey New Voices in the American Theatre Award. She is an alumnus of both Harvard and Columbia Universities.

The cast of The Mountaintop will be announced shortly.

Katori HallKenny Leon