ROOM SERVICE Samuel L. Jackson in "The Mountaintop," which opens on Thursday at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in New York. Angela Bassett is his co-star.
Below, a quick Jackson profile, plus a TheaterGossip quiz to determine how much you know about him.
"THE MOUNTAINTOP" opens on Broadway on Thursday. We'll talk about the play when the reviews come in. For now, let's talk about its megatalented star: Samuel L. Jackson.
CURRENT GIG Playing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Katori Hall's Olivier Award-winning play "The Mountaintop," set in a motel room on the night before King's assassination in Memphis.
BORN AND RAISED Washington DC (born). Chattanooga, Tenn. (raised).
ALMA MATER Morehouse College.
AVAILABILITY Married to LaTanya Richardson since 1980.
BEST KNOWN AS Mace Windu in the prequel trilogy of "Star Wars" to some. John Travolta's criminal sidekick in "Pulp Fiction" to others.
BROADWAY DEBUT This is it. Although he did a lot of Off Broadway and other theater work before he became a movie star.
WHEN HE KNEW HE'D MADE IT BIG "All of a sudden I'm standing on a set doing scenes with Yoda. I said to myself, 'I've arrived.' "*
*"Tough Guy Finds His Warm and Fuzzy Side," by Margy Rochlin, The New York Times, Nov. 2, 1997.
THEATERGOSSIP'S READER QUESTION OF THE DAY If Jackson weren't playing Martin Luther King, who should be? Let us know what you think.
QUIZ: HOW DO YOU SCORE AS A SAMUEL L. JACKSON EXPERT?
1. Which play did Jackson star in at Yale Repertory but was not allowed to appear in on Broadway?
(a) "Three Sisters"
(c) "Death of a Salesman"
(d) "The Piano Lesson"
2. When he was a struggling actor in New York, Jackson worked as
(a) a male model
(b) a bicycle messenger
(c) a bartender
(d) a doorman
3. Jackson's real-life connection to MLK:
(a) a distant relative on his mother's side
(b) an usher at his funeral
(c) took his father hostage in a college protest
(d) just a great admirer
4. Jackson did so well playing a crack addict in "Jungle Fever" because
(a) he had studied acting with Lee Strasberg himself
(b) he was given unlimited retakes by the director (Spike Lee)
(c) he lived with drug addicts in preparation for the role
(d) he had just gotten out of rehab
5. Jackson's middle initial L stands for
[[CHECK BACK IN ON THURSDAY, OCT. 11, 2011, OPENING NIGHT, FOR THE ANSWERS. BUT WE'LL UNDERSTAND IF YOU GET IMPATIENT AND GOOGLE.]]
Meanwhile, read more about:
Samuel L. Jackson
The Olivier Award
Martin Luther King Jr.
"The Mountaintop," by Katori Hall, directed by Kenny Leon, Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 242 West 45th Street, (212) 239-6200, telecharge.com. Opening night: Oct. 13, 2011.
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