Angela Bassett’s new Broadway gig causes reshuffling at Pasadena Playhouse


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What’s timing got to do with it? A lot, apparently, when you’re Angela Bassett and you have to decide between two plum stage roles on opposite coasts.

Bassett has signed on to star with Samuel L. Jackson in Katori Hall’s drama ‘The Mountaintop’ on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, with an official opening set for Oct. 13. But Bassett’s commitment to the New York drama means that she will have to withdraw from the Pasadena Playhouse’s planned fall production of the play ‘Pastoral,’ by Frank Tangredi.


‘Pastoral’ was originally scheduled to have its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in November, with Bassett in the lead role as a pastor facing multiple crises.

Sheldon Epps, the artistic director of the playhouse, said in an email that the company leaders are ‘examining our options and may adjust our production schedule so that Angela can do the play with us in the future. I do of course wish her great success with the Broadway production.’

Epps said that he intends to direct ‘Pastoral’ when it is finally produced at the playhouse.

Bassett previously appeared at the Pasadena Playhouse in a 2006 production of August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ with Laurence Fishburne. The Oscar-nominated actress -- who starred in the Tina Turner biopic ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’ -- lives in L.A. with her husband and 5-year-old twins.

‘The Mountaintop’ is a work of speculative history centering on Martin Luther King Jr. on the night before he is assassinated. Bassett will play a mysterious maid named Camae who visits King at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

Halle Berry had originally been slated to star in the Broadway production, but withdrew from the role in April.



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-- David Ng