OAK LAWN, Ill. | Presentation of the award-winning play, "The Mountaintop," a poetic drama that offers a portrayal of Martin Luther King's final hours preceding his assassination, will highlight the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Advocate Christ Medical Center on Jan. 20.
The public is invited to attend the event, which will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the medical center’s auditorium on Kilbourn Avenue, just south of 93rd Street, in Oak Lawn.
In addition to a shortened version of the winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Play, the program will feature the music and singing of Chicago’s Providence - St. Mel School Chamber Choir, conducted by David Barr and accompanied by Brian Ward.
Written by Katori Hall and directed by Ron OJ Parson, “The Mountaintop” is set in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., on the eve of King’s assassination on April 3, 1968. Although not an historical account, the play offers an imaginary, but realistic, view of King as a man with strengths as well as human flaws. The presentation is intended to put the viewer in the presence of an extraordinary leader and provide a “meditation on mortality, destiny and legacy.”
In the presentation, King, as played by Mark Smith, is restless, working on his next speech, when he is interrupted by the arrival of a hotel maid, with whom he strikes up a conversation. As the evening grows late and King’s unexpected death draws closer, the maid, as portrayed by Lisa Beasley, reveals that she is more than what she appears to be.
Following the formal portion of the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, the medical center will host a multicultural lunch buffet in the dining area just outside the auditorium.
“The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at our medical center traditionally draws hundreds of participants and features local, regional and national leaders, celebrities and activists noted for their work in promoting race relations, social justice and societal fairness and equality,” said the Rev. Richard E. James, Christ Medical Center chaplain, who helps coordinate the annual program.
“It is truly an inspiring event, capped by a smorgasbord of foods representing cultures throughout the world,” he said.