The Mountaintop

Disclaimer: I received tickets in exchange for this review. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Source: City Theatre

It’s late night on April 3, 1968. The audience is in the walls of Memphis’ Lorraine Hotel, room 306. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. enters the room for the last night of his life. This night followed one of Dr. King’s legendary speeches, his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

In a mix of history and fiction, playwright Katori Hall depicts Dr. King’s last night as one spent “with” Camae, a hotel maid, as he waits for his friend Ralph to return with a pack of cigarettes.

Admittedly, at first I was a bit uncomfortable watching as Dr. King (played by Albert Jones) and Camae (played by Bianca LaVerne Jones) took City Theatre’s stage with some dirty, flirtatious dialogue. It felt on the verge of irreverent, but something told me, “just wait, just wait”.

(L-R) Bianca LaVerne Jones, Albert Jones Credit: Kristi Jan Hoover

(L-R) Bianca LaVerne Jones, Albert Jones
Credit: Kristi Jan Hoover

As Camae brought to light some of the things about Dr. King (that may or may not have been true), it was evident she knew a lot about him. And with good reason.

I won’t spoil the play, but the dynamic between Dr. King and Camae came to a beautiful intersection. It ends with a moving look at how “passing the baton” in the Civil Rights movement went from Dr. King to today. It was so intense that I told Greg I thought he was going to squeeze my hand off…after we gave a standing ovation through tears. I knew I was going to cry!

(L-R) Albert Jones, Bianca LaVerne Jones Credit: Kristi Jan Hoover

(L-R) Albert Jones, Bianca LaVerne Jones
Credit: Kristi Jan Hoover

In short, this is a must-see for anyone who is able to make it to City Theatre by February 9.

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