WHITEFIELD, NH - September 3, 2021 - The Weathervane Theatre is proud to present Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop.

Sponsored by #ethancoaches, this new critically acclaimed play opens Thursday, September 9th and runs in alternating repertory through October 7th.

The Mountaintop is a gripping re-imagination of events the night before the assassination of the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On April 3, 1968, after delivering one of his most memorable speeches, an exhausted Dr. King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel while a storm rages outside. When a mysterious stranger arrives with some surprising news, King is forced to confront his destiny and his inevitable legacy.

Premiering in 2009, The Mountaintop won the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play, making its author, Katori Hall, the first black woman to win the Olivier Award for Best New Play. In 2011 the play premiered on Broadway starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett.

Directing this piece is longtime Weathervane alumna Shinnerrie Jackson. Best known for her performances of legendary characters like Dolly Gallagher Levi (Hello, Dolly!) and Billie Holliday (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill), The Mountaintop marks Jackson’s directorial debut at the Weathervane.

“This new opportunity to take on the role of director is one I will cherish forever,” said Jackson. “The Mountaintop is a challenge to everything you think you know about Martin Luther King Jr. You will meet him as a man and less as an icon. You will hear about his struggles and walk away with a better sense of knowing him. You may leave angry; because how can such a human be cut down for simply believing in equality for all human beings? It has been such a wonderful treat to redefine my working relationship with my Weathervane friends and colleagues. I have enjoyed learning from them in this new capacity and it's nice to have a long time friend surprise you with the scope of their imagination.

Starring in this two person play are Rendell DeBose (Martin Luther King, Jr.) and Jewell Noel (Camae). Jackson revels: “Watching Jewell Noel embody the role of Camae has been a joy, she will steal your heart. Rendell DeBose has such a bold command of language and artistic skill, you will think you spent the evening in MLK's presence. I have grown so much as an artist throughout this process and have grown to love The Weathervane more and more.”

Another artist Jackson highlights is Ruby Berryman: “A most welcome addition to our team has been dramaturg Ruby Berryman, a playwright that has infused this project with the history it needs to tell the story right.” 

Local to the area, and owner of The Lancaster Motel, Berryman reflects on her new collaboration with the Weathervane: “Working with director, Shinnerre Jackson on The Mountaintop has been a very

special experience,” said Berryman. “She is very clear in her vision of this play and its direct connection to the struggles of African-Americans today. I am honored to be a support to her in research, feedback and as simply another black woman in the room with common history and experiences.”

In addition to direction by Jackson and dramaturgy by Berryman, Weathervane’s production of The Mountaintop features design by Hayley Christensen (sound design), Scout Hough (lighting design), Ellen Houlden (properties design), and Rien Schlecht (costume and set design). Additional creative team: Kelly Bernard (technical direction), Mollie Heil (production stage manager), and Kara Procelll (assistant stage manager). The Mountaintop is sponsored by #ethancoaches.

Performed to in person audiences, audiences are currently capped at 48% and socially distanced throughout the theatre. The theatre has a new HVAC/Air Purification System that filters the air and provides heat and air conditioning. Masks are required for unvaccinated patrons and complimentary masks available on premises.

The Mountaintop opens Thursday, September 9th and runs in alternating repertory through October 7th. Weathervane’s fall season runs September 7 - October 10 with 7 PM performances Tuesday - Saturday and additional 2 PM performances on Saturdays and Sundays. Additional fall productions include Pippin, She Loves Me, and Alaina Mills in Always...Patsy Cline. Single tickets, dinner and a show packages, and ticket subscriptions now available at www.weathervanenh.org. Tickets start at $26.

The Weathervane Box Office is open by phone (603-837-9322), email (boxoffice@weahervanenh.org), and in person Tuesday - Sunday. Hours Tuesday - Friday are 1 PM - 7:30 PM. Hours on Saturday are 11 AM  - 7:30 PM and 11 AM - 2:30 PM on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased 24/7 on Weathervane’s website.

_________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE WEATHERVANE

The Weathervane Theatre was founded in 1965 by Gibbs Murray and the late Tom Haas and is under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Ethan Paulini. For over half a century, it has presented high quality professional productions of plays and musicals. One of the few remaining alternating rep companies in the United States, the Weathervane is recognized as a historical institution nationwide, boasting among its alumni 2021 Tony nominee Elizabeth Stanley, Tally Sessions, four-time Tony nominee Judy Kuhn and recent Tony Award Winner Ari’el Stachel. 

 

Weathervane can be found on Facebook at /weathervanetheatre and all other social media platforms @weathervanenh.

 

ABOUT SHINNERRIE JACKSON

Select credits include Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill (Weathervane Theatre), Headmistress Francis in School Girls (Pittsburgh Public Theater), and Ain’t I a Woman: a one woman show about the heroines of African American history. She has been seen on 30 Rock and in Whit Stillmans’ Damsels in Distress. Directing credits include You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown with Out of the Box Theatrics. Shinnerrie earned her Bachelors of Music at Oberlin Conservatory and her MFA at The University of Tennessee.