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This year marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and one troupe is exploring what the Civil Rights leader might have done hours before his violent death.

L.A. Theatre Works will present “The Mountaintop” – a fictional interaction between King and a chambermaid – three times at Queens Theatre this weekend. Ticket prices run from $20 to $42. However, QNS readers can purchase the most expensive tickets ($42) for $30 with the promo code QTC30.

On April 3, 1968, King gave his famous “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech in Memphis, Tennessee. The next day, James Earl Ray fatally shot him outside Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, where he had stayed.

In “The Mountaintop,” playwright Katori Hall imagines a half-dressed King ordering room service as he prepares for the next day. Between the constant death threats and super busy workload, he’s under tremendous stress, but he lightens up upon seeing the young and beautiful Camae with a tray of coffee at the door.

She’s a bit starstruck. He starts flirting.

They share a smoke and strike up a conversation that continually gets deeper. Camae criticizes his theory of nonviolence and patriarchal world view. King reveals his hopes, regrets, frustrations, and fears. (Basically, he shows his mortal side hours before being immortalized in history.)

The first two presentations are on Saturday, March 10, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The final staging — on Sunday, March 11, at 3 p.m. — will include an audio description service for the blind and visually impaired.

L.A. Theatre Works favors the “radio play style,” which had its heyday in the 1940s. As such, theater-goers will wear earpieces and listen to commentary about the production as it unfolds. Prior to the curtain’s rise, a staffer will talk about the set’s layout. Then during periods with no dialogue, patrons with earpieces will hear details about the costumes, the actors’ facial expressions, and other remarks.

Queens Theatre is located at 14 United Nations Ave. S. in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

L.A. Theatre Works is actually touring “The Mountaintop” to 38 venues in the United States and Bermuda right now. Future shows are scheduled for such states as Utah, Texas, and Iowa.

Images: Kirk-Richard-Smith


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