*It’s now official. Samuel L. Jackson will make his Broadway debut starring as Dr. Martin Luther King in the Broadway production of the new play, The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall directed by Tony Award Nominee Kenny Leon (Fences, A Raisin in the Sun).
Jackson had long been rumored to star in the production, which opened two years ago in London and won the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Play. Halle Berry had also been rumored to be his co-star, but was unable to join due to her ongoing child custody issues with ex Gabriel Aubry.
King was gunned down on April 4th, 1968, on the porch of his Memphis hotel. The night before, having earlier had his plane delayed by bomb threats, he gave a rousing speech, now known as the “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop Address.”
In the speech, King alluded to the threats on his life, and in the play, he examines his life and decisions as he unknowingly closes in on the last moments of his life.
The Mountaintop will begin performances on Sept. 22, 2011, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th Street), with an official opening on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Tickets will go on sale at a later date.
In a joint statement, co-producers Jean Doumanian and Sonia 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 thrilled to be bringing Katori Hall’s remarkable, Olivier-winning work to New York, and to present a singular new American voice to Broadway audiences. And we are honored to be presenting the Broadway debut of the great Samuel L. Jackson.”
Jean Doumanian Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions are producing alongside Ambassador Theatre Group, Jerry Frankel, Ted Snowdon, Bob Bartner, and Tom Wirtshafter.