Katori Hall, photographed at the National Civil Rights Museum in 2010, opened "The Mountaintop" in England because the British "are used to cracking open the masks of their kings."

Though playwright Katori Hall may be better known to theatergoers on Broadway and London’s West End, the native Memphian will finally see her name on a hometown marquee next year.

Her award-winning play, “The Mountaintop,” will be staged as a co-production of Circuit Playhouse and the Hattiloo Theatre Jan. 18-Feb. 10, 2013. This will be the first collaborative production for the two theaters.

“It’s an important play,” said Playhouse’s executive producer, Jackie Nichols. “It will come in the middle of Hattiloo’s capital campaign (to build a new black repertory theater in Overton Square) and also as a precursor to Black History Month.”

After winning the Olivier Award in London (the equivalent of a Tony Award) in 2009, Hall’s play premiered last year on Broadway starring Samuel L. Jackson as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Angela Bassett as a mysterious stranger who pays him a visit. The drama unfolds in a room at the Lorraine Motel — the same room now preserved by the National Civil Rights Museum — on the night before King’s assassination.

“It’s going to be a true collaboration,” says Hattiloo’s executive producer, Ekundayo Bandele. “This is going to be an excellent opportunity for a couple of soon-to-be neighbors to work together.”

In October, Hattiloo announced the construction of a new theater next door to Circuit Playhouse as part of Overton Square’s redevelopment plans. Bandele says that groundbreaking could begin this year. The current theater is on Marshall Avenue.

Broadway’s “The Mountaintop” closed on Jan. 22. Hall’s newest play, “Hurt Village,” will open Feb. 27 at the Signature Center’s Romulus Linney Courtyard theater on West 42nd Street. The gritty drama takes place in a Memphis housing project.

Memphis is also the backdrop for her play “Hoodoo Love,” which premiered in New York in 2007.

Hall, 30, graduated from Craigmont High School and attended Columbia University, Harvard drama school and the Juilliard playwriting program. She also worked as an intern at The Commercial Appeal.

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Written on January 31st, 2012 , Media
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