Monday, January 28, 2013

The Mountaintop

Room 306 in Lorraine Motel, Memphis

Philadelphia Theatre Company, located at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, is presenting the Philadelphia premiere of The Mountaintop through February 17. Playwright Katori Hall imagines what might have happened in the motel room in Memphis the night after Dr. King delivered his famous “Mountaintop” speech. Sekou Laidlow, portraying Dr. Martin Luther King and Amirah Vann, portraying a stranger who enters his motel room, were at a distinct disadvantage due to a stagehands walk-out on opening night. Sound cues were missing as were special effects, but this did not deter either actor. Laidlaw depicts King as human and fallible. Perhaps it is because the audience is forced to employ its imagination that Laidlaw is able to plumb to great depths to reveal his character as not only reverent, but at times playful, raw and earthy.  Amirah Vann gives a well- rounded performance as well.  She portrays her character as awestruck, yet defiant; saucy, yet playful; irreverent, yet compassionate. The actors performed under less than ideal circumstances but their performances could not have been any better. The acting is outstanding.  Tickets will be sold at preview prices for the duration of the stagehands’ union walkout. Certainly the show will be enhanced once the stagehands come back to work, but the show is well worth-while as is. You don’t need to wait for a union settlement to see a very fine performance. For further information or tickets, call 215-985-0420 or visit online at

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