Katori Hall Makes It to 'The Mountaintop'

Observing and analyzing human behavior and how it fits into the world isn't new for Hall. Her mother once called her a "weird child," but Hall prefers to use the word "imaginative." She grew up in a working-class household as the youngest of four daughters. Her mother was a phlebotomist, and her father worked in factories. For fun, she would spend hours by herself making up stories and had about 15 imaginary friends. In 2003, she graduated from Columbia University with a degree in African-American studies and creative writing. From there, she went on to do theater training at Harvard and playwriting at Julliard.

It was while studying at Columbia that she realized the lack of roles for African-American women. She was given an assignment to pull some scenes with two young African American women and couldn't find any. It was in that moment that she knew she had to write. She considers that epiphany the thing she is the most proud of.

"I took a chance. I didn't know what the road was going to be like. We make the road by walking, and I decided to become my dream instead of lying there and dreaming about it," Hall said.

"The Mountaintop" is just the beginning. In February the Signature Theatre in New York will produce "Hurt Village," Hall's play set in her hometown about a soldier who returns from Iraq and discovers his neighborhood is being demolished. If that should eventually come to Broadway, Hall would be just fine with that, now that she feels a part of the community.

"I must say I feel very satisfied," Hall said. "I feel as though -- and I'm very proud of this -- that I have been able to make Broadway accessible to a new generation in terms of putting up a story that all different kinds of people want to see. It doesn't matter if you're white, black, old or young. Everyone is coming to see 'The Mountaintop.'"

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