The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is helping everyone remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We all remember him as the man for his March on Washington in 1963 and delivering the famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an inspiration to many. He had a dream to take people to the “Promised Land”, “The Mountaintop”. He was a man that was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in.
As an American Baptist Minister and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was followed by many but many still opposed him. He carried the burden of a sixteen-year-old boy shot to death by the police for joining in and stealing a television during a riot.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work with racial inequality through nonviolence. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who died too young.
But what if he knew the night before of his death. What if he knew that all his hard work had to be passed on to others. Others who would help carry the torch for his hopes and dreams. How would he play out his final day? The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is taking us there to that very night.
“The Mountiantop” is the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play and is written by award winning author Katori Hall. When interviewed by The Juilliard Journal, Katori was asked when did she start writing The Mountaintop? Katori replied “I’ve been writing it my whole life.” This story has been told to her so many times and in 2007, she finally started putting the story to paper.
The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities welcomed this compelling and beautiful play as it opened Tuesday, March 22, 2016 to a packed house. The scene is set in room 306 of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his last night. He is shown in a comical image, a religious image, a powerful image. As a man of character, Katori Hall takes us inside for a different Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We see Michael King as a man who is trying to figure out his opening line for the next speech he will deliver. He orders room service and gets a cup of coffee. Through his conversation with the Motel maid, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explores his next quests that he must conquer.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is played by Cedric Mays who is making his debut with The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Mr. Mays credits include “What I Learned In Paris”, “And In this Corner…Cassus Clay”, “Bud, Not Buddy” “The Mountaintop”, “Fish Men”, Gem Of The Ocean”, “Redshirts!” and Blue/Orange. Cedric Mays has also appeared on television with “Chicago Code” and “Detroit 1-8-7”. In this Arvada Center performance, Cedric Mays sweeps the audience away with his portrayal of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mays has you running through a gamut of emotions as you laugh with him, cry with him, experience the pain that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. experienced in life. His performance deserves a lot of awards.
Camae the maid is played by Betty Hart. She too is making her debut to the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Betty Hart has performed in “Beehive”, “The Secret Garden”, “Jar the Floor”, “The Trojan Women”, “As It Is In Heaven”, “The America Play”, “Keeping Watch”, “The Merchant Of Venice” and “The Crucible”. Locally, Betty has performed as Erzulie in “Once on this Island” and as Kate in “Good People” for which she won the 2014 Marlowe Award for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role for Comedy.
This sensational and powerful performance will leave you thinking of the many accomplishments that might have been different had Martin Luther King Jr. still been alive. But you will take with you the feeling that you too can help accomplish and provide a means to help this country carry on the dream that Michael King had hoped for our country. The performance is running from now until April 17, 2016. Get your tickets and be prepared for a night so impressive that you will be thinking the minute you get up to leave “What can I do”?