The stage directions that introduce Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop” are simple – but their import is weighty. Hall’s play imagines the last night of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. He’s just delivered one of his most lauded speeches, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” and is struggling to write his next, when there’s a knock at the door; his encounter with a mysterious woman, sent to deliver him coffee, sends his world into a tailspin.
TheatreSquared’s production of “The Mountaintop” – by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall – opens on Jan. 19 in T2’s West Theatre (477 W. Spring St., Fayetteville) and runs through Feb. 13. Tickets range from $20-$54, and can be purchased by calling (479) 777-7477 or by visiting theatre2.org.
The New York Times noted that “even before the first flash of lightning — and there will be plenty of that before evening’s end — an ominous electricity crackles through the opening moments of ‘The Mountaintop.””
“This play asks ‘What if?’ shared Robert Ford, Artistic Director. “It begins quietly, and then explodes off the stage with jaw-dropping theatrical magic. Life, legacy, and the very nature of reality—it’s all up for grabs in this stunningly written, powerful new play.”
As the setting is physically transformed throughout the play, audiences will get their first glimpse of how impressive the technical capabilities of T2’s new West Theatre are. Scenic designer Tanya Orellana gives audience members the experience of a lifetime by utilizing the state-of-the-art rigging and the 12 feet of depth below the stage to create stagecraft magic that will take their breath away.
The iconic role of Martin Luther King, Jr. is played by actor Clinton Lowe, whose resume includes movie (Ridley Scott’s American Gangster); television (The Hustle and Law and Order: SVU); and theater credits on Broadway, off-Broadway, and at regional theaters all over the country.
Aneisa J. Hicks plays King’s visitor, Camae. Hicks’ credits include stage work for Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, as well as television appearances on Chicago Med, The Chi, and Chicago Justice.
Director Vickie Washington returns to TheatreSquared after directing “School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play” last year. Texas-based Washington is a multi-talented artist who, in addition to directing, acts, teaches and produces theater. She received the Dallas Observer’s 2015 Best Director recognition for the world premiere production of Jonathan Norton’s “Mississippi Goddamn.”
“A native Memphian, I grew up with this history only a stone’s throw away,” said 2021 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall in an interview about the genesis of The Mountaintop. The show took London by storm, winning an Olivier – London’s equivalent of a Tony Award – for Best New Play. In addition to a Pulitzer and an Olivier, Hall is also the recipient of the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, two Lecompte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, National Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award.
“The Mountaintop” is TheatreSquared’s first show of the new year, and is a return to T2’s elevated entry procedures, which require proof of a vaccination or a negative test (within 48 hours) to attend. Elevated entry requirements were reintroduced as a result of high community caseload, and will continue through the show’s closing on Feb. 13. Masks are also required in the theater for the performance.
Performances of The Mountaintop are scheduled from January 19 to February 13, with 7:30pm performances Tuesday through Saturday and 2pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday. The play is in the West Theatre at TheatreSquared, 477 W. Spring Street in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. Tickets range from $20-$54. All fees are included, with no additional charges at checkout.
Subscription packages for TheatreSquared include full seven-play packages starting at $119, with four-to-six-play flex packages starting at $89. Benefits for season ticket holders include savings of up to 20% on every show, free unlimited exchanges, discounted reserved parking, and same-day discounts in The Commons Bar/Café and other T2 Restaurant & Hotel Partners.
Through T2’s Lights Up! For Access program, supported by the Walmart Foundation, SNAP benefit recipients can purchase $1 tickets, while students and patrons under the age of 30 can purchase $10 tickets. Fully subsidized, free tickets are also available for clients of a number of local community service organizations. For more information, visit theatre2.org/lights-up.
Subscription packages and single tickets can be reserved by calling TheatreSquared at (479) 777-7477 or by visiting theatre2.org/subscribe.
TheatreSquared’s signature offering of bold new plays in an intimate setting has driven its growth to become the state’s largest theatre, offering more than 350 performances annually in two intimate spaces and online. The playwright-led company is one of mid-America’s leading laboratories for new work, having launched more than 60 new plays. Notable collaborators have included Bryna Turner, José Cruz Gonzalez, Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D’Amour, Qui Nguyen, Mona Mansour, Tony Award nominee Lee Blessing, Amy Evans, and many others. TheatreSquared’s remarkable expansion—with a twentyfold increase in audience in just the past decade—parallels the emergence of its home region in the northwest corner of Arkansas as a booming population center and destination for American art. Offering far-reaching access and education programs and an open-all-day gathering space, The Commons Bar/Café, TheatreSquared remains rooted in its founding vision, that “theatre—done well and with passion—can transform lives and communities.”