Love. Honor. Commitment. Three simple words. They are the words that gay and lesbian couples feel in their hearts when they make a commitment to each other. That’s why the Human Rights Campaign believes that same-sex couples should be able to get married. Our campaign, Americans for Marriage Equality, is sparking a national conversation about the power of love, fairness and equality.
We are Americans for Marriage Equality.

Written on November 28th, 2011 , Media

Katori Hall explains how she reimagines history in her new Broadway play, The Mountaintop.

By Kellee Terrell

It was a stormy night in Memphis, Tenn., at the Lorraine Hotel on April 3, 1968, when civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. was gearing up for what would be his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” All of a sudden a mysterious hotel maid named Camae, who seems harmless, delivers King a pot of coffee. We quickly find out that she is not what she seems. The interaction and tension between these polar opposites would make MLK’s last night on Earth before being assassinated exhilarating yet utterly devastating.

This is the fictional premise behind the eye-opening and much hyped play The Mountaintop, which debuted in London’s West End last year and debuted on Broadway last month. Written by 30-year-old playwright Katori HallThe Mountaintop won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for best new play last September, a first for any black female playwright.

The Root sat down with Hall to talk about what inspired this work, what she would have said to King on his last night and how magic and the supernatural can be used to tell a story on Broadway.

To read more, click here!

 

 

Written on November 15th, 2011 , Media, Uncategorized

Katori Hall reaches for the divine — and Broadway

By Patrick Pacheco, Special to the Los Angeles Times

There are two portraits prominently displayed in the Memphis, Tenn., living room of Emma “Big Mama” Leake, the grandmother of Katori Hall. One is of Jesus, the other of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hall says it was King’s portrait that haunted her.

“I didn’t want him to be on the wall,” says the 30-year-old playwright. “I wanted him to be flesh and blood to me and to others.”

Her play “The Mountaintop,” which opens Thursday on Broadway, directed by Kenny Leon, is the result of that ambition. And indeed, her King, played by Samuel L. Jackson, is all too human in a drama that unfolds on April 3, 1968 — the night before the civil rights leader was assassinated — in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. When the play opens, King has just returned from a speaking engagement, hungering for coffee, a pack of Pall Malls and relief from a full bladder and the burden of being “Dr. Martin Luther King.” A welcome distraction comes in the form of Camae, a maid played by Angela Bassett, who delivers the coffee — and a lot more.

To read more, click here!

 

Written on November 15th, 2011 , Media, Uncategorized

Playwright Katori Hall’s career takes off

By Mark Kennedy, AP Drama Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Katori Hall plops down in a restaurant booth and promptly orders a Bloody Mary. It’s 1 p.m.

The playwright confesses that while her career is going great, her personal life is a bit of a mess. In the space of just three days, she’s lost her transit card, her debit card and, just today, her cellphone.

“I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ This must be a sign of good luck,” the 30-year-old says. “It better be.”

To read more, click here!

 

Written on November 15th, 2011 , Media

Interview: Playwright Katori Hall Reaches for King’s Mountaintop

By Lonna Saunders

At just 30 years old making her Broadway debut, playwright Katori Hall was not around to experience Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in real time, but she became immersed in his legacy growing up in Memphis where he spent the last days of his life.

Her new play Mountaintop with Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett pays tribute to Dr. King’s last public appearance at Mason Temple in Memphis where he delivered his historic “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. The play has the same director as last year’s Tony-winning Fences. Kenny Leon directed Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in the revival of that August Wilson classic .

Hall received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University with Departmental Honors in African-American Studies and has a Master of Fine Arts in acting from Harvard University. She also studied playwriting at Juilliard under the tutelage of noted playwright Christopher Durang…

To read more, click here!

Written on November 15th, 2011 , Media

Katori Hall Makes It to ‘The Mountaintop’

By DUSTIN FITZHARRIS
Nov. 13, 2011

At 30 years old, playwright Katori Hall finally feels comfortable in her own skin. As an African-American growing up in a predominately white neighborhood in Memphis, Tenn., Hall said she was always trying to be the “good” version of herself.

For years she was like a character in a play, presenting herself in a variety of ways depending on the scene and the people in it. Now as “The Mountaintop,” her play starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, has landed a home on Broadway, Hall is no longer creating roles to please others.

“You think you’re supposed to hide your quote on quote blackness,” Hall said about how she once thought. “Now I’m more settled into who Katori is. I embrace that aspect of my culture, my history and my background. I’m actually the same person in front of a black person as I am in front of a white person. I’m very authentic. Very southern. A little sister girlish.”…to read more, click here.

 

Written on November 15th, 2011 , Media

Check out Katori on Up With Chris Hayes.

Written on November 15th, 2011 , Media
5 Ways Katori Hall Gave In to Life, Love and Her Own Creativity
The 30-year-old playwright—her drama The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson as Martin Luther King Jr., hit Broadway this fall—digs deep into life, love, and the creative process.

1. You have to let go of the bad to make room for the good.

I was in a hellish relationship a few years ago, but I swear, the moment I said goodbye, all these blessings started flowing into my life. It was like God was holding a bag of blessings and I was holding a bag of shit, and when I let go of my bag, God was like, “Here you go.”
2. Silence is the start.

Playwrights are the most gregarious writers—to get our work done, we need actors, directors, set designers. So whenever I have to go back into my writing cocoon, I get a little scared to be alone. But that’s when the voices come to you. Silence is the start.

3. You can only be you—nothing more, nothing less.

When I was 21, I went to a Q&A with the playwright August Wilson. I grabbed the microphone and said, “August Wilson, I want to be just like you.” The audience cracked up. I don’t know if they thought it was cute or ludicrous or both… to read more, click here.

 

Written on November 15th, 2011 , Media

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien interviews Katori in Memphis at Katori’s family home and at the Lorriane Motel. Click HERE to check it out. Below is the write up on the CNN site. Fun, right?!

 

The Mountaintop

A controversial new play on Broadway called “The Mountaintop” takes a look at the last night of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life.

In the play, Dr. King is portrayed as a very human man, smoking, drinking, cursing, even flirting. Many are buzzing about the playwright who chose to portray the civil rights icon in such a way.

30-year-old Katori Hall is that playwright and in this weekend’s CNN presents Soledad O’Brien travels to Memphis with the playwright and for the first time ever, cameras are allowed inside the room where Dr. King spent the last hours of his life.

“The Mountaintop” is one of four stories in one compelling hour of television this Sunday on CNN Presents at 8:00 pm ET, re-airing at 11:00 pm ET and 2:00 am ET.

 

 

Written on November 7th, 2011 , Media

Written on November 7th, 2011 , Media
Katori Hall on Twitter