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Culture notes: When Angela Bassett played Kenny Leon’s mama; MODA’s bubbly about bathrooms

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Atlanta director Kenny Leon has worked with Angela Bassett once before but it was far different circumstances than their fall pairing in Broadway’s “The Mountaintop” that was announced this week.

Leon recalled acting opposite Bassett in a play that was part of an Outward Bound program in which they both participated in St. Petersburg, Fla. in the 1970s. “She played my mother even though I was two years older,” he recounted over the phone from New York with a chuckle.

Now she’ll play the role of the mysterious hotel maid opposite Samuel L. Jackson in Memphis playwright Katori Hall’s Olivier-winning play about the imagined last night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life.

“I’m excited that she’s doing the role because of her chemistry with Sam Jackson and myself is amazing,” the director said. “She brings a beauty and a grace and a depth of understanding to the role of Camae.”

“Mountaintop” begins previews Sept. 22 and opens Oct. 13 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (www.telecharge.com or 212-239-6200).

“It’s an important play at an import time in our country and an important time on Broadway,” Leon said, “so there’s a lot of significance in bringing this play to the Great White Way.”

MUSEUM
Bubbly about bathrooms

You’ve heard of house envy, but starting Sunday the Museum of Design Atlanta will be fueling envy far more specific. “WaterDream:cq The Art of Bathroom Design,” opening for a run through Sept. 24 at MODA’s slick new location across from the High Museum of Art, traces the evolution of bathroom design from 19th century basic to today’s spa-like retreats. Trust us, you’ll covet one of the ultra-chic tubs on view. 1315 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-979-6455, www.museumofdesign.org. HOWARD POUSNER

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