By Howard Pousner
Rumors were running rife Friday that Kenny Leon’s next Broadway casting coup will be Halle Berry.
Several Broadway blogs parroted the New York Post’s report that Berry would join Samuel L. Jackson in “The Mountaintop,” American playwright Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winning drama about Martin Luther King Jr. on the night before he was assassinated.
Berry would play a hotel maid who turns out to be an angel that God sent, as Leon himself said in New York last week, “to bring Dr. King to the other side.” Anika Noni Rose, who won a Tony for “Caroline, or Change,” is also said to be in the mix for the maid/angel part.
Leon, who is apparently vacationing, did not respond to AJC e-mails on Friday.
Jackson, who attended Morehouse College, read for the lead role in New York with Leon and producers in late May.
Berry has been in New York lately attending Broadway shows reportedly including the Leon-directed revival of August Wilson’s “Fences.”
A “Mountaintop” announcement is expected soon. Last week, Leon was unsure whether the play would open this fall or in March, and availability of his two stars seemed to be the main hurdle.
The producer is Jean Doumanian, who presented the London premiere starring David Harewood as MLK and Lorraine Burroughs as the ethereal Camae.
The New York Post also reported Friday that the Cort Theatre is now charging $400 for “Fences” premium tickets, and that scalpers are getting $750 to $1,000 for the best seats.