Halle Berry — who already has an Oscar (“Monster’s Ball”) and an Emmy (“Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”) — may need to make room on her mantle for a Tony in 2012. While attending the L.A. premiere of her current Oscar vehicle “Frankie and Alice, ” Berry confirmed she will be making her theatrical debut next fall in the Broadway edition of “The Mountaintop.” She will play a maid who encounters Dr. Martin Luther King in his Memphis hotel room the night before he is assassinated in 1968 while Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction”) will portray the fallen leader in his return to the rialto two decades after he was an understudy in August Wilson‘s “The Piano Lesson.”
Last March, this first play by American actress by Katori Hall pulled off an upset at the Olivier Awards, winning Best Play over two British works which had a leading six nominations each — “Jerusalem,” a dark comedy of class by Jez Butterworth and Lucy Prebble‘s “Enron,” a savage satire about that company’s implosion.
Last year’s Tony champs for leading roles in plays were two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington (“Glory,” “Training Day”) and Academy Award nominee Viola Davis (“Doubt”) for a revival of Wilson’s “Fences.” Among Berry’s competition for the 2012 Tony Awards could be another Best Actress winner — Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”) — who is set to star as a fading film star in a revival of Tennessee Williams‘ “Sweet Bird of Youth” perhaps opposite newly-named Oscars co-host James Franco.
Image: ‘The Mountaintop’ logo (Theatre 503)