Becoming Martin

September 18, 2018
October 21, 2018


A Coterie World Premiere by Kevin Willmott

Directed by Chip Miller
Produced in community partnership with
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City and The Black Archives of Mid-America


This world premiere centers on the mentorship Martin Luther King, Jr., receives when he enters Morehouse College at age 15. Through debate over civil disobedience concepts, Morehouse College President, Dr. Benjamin Mays, sets young MLK on a path towards fighting for civil rights.

This play is a Coterie commissioned work by noted filmmaker, screenwriter, director, and playwright, Kevin Willmott, who currently serves as a professor of film studies at Kansas University and is hailed as one of the most prolific independent filmmakers today. His recent feature film, BlacKkKlansman, which he co-wrote with Spike Lee, won the Grand Prix at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

A post-performance Question and Answer session will follow each performance.

In conjunction with the world premiere of Becoming Martin, The Coterie will offer In-School Workshops that will introduce students to the events in the play and help put the story into historical context. For information and reservations visit


Length:  75 minutes


Find educator resources and curriculum extensions at

News and Reviews:



"The Coterie’s scintillating new MLK play is a must-see...  sharp craftsmanship... a beautifully conceived and executed production" -The Independent


"The Coterie Theatre celebrates decades of successfully sharing earnest stories with incredible impact... changing the lives of young people and celebrating diversity through art... and Martin is no different" -In Kansas City Magazine


"A smart, affecting story... a richly composed work... informs while it entertains, and leaves us with lingering impressions" -The Pitch


"Willmott makes each character more approachable for younger audience members... humanizes [an] iconic historical figure... the [cast] is a masterful bunch under astute direction" -BroadwayWorld


"Beautifully written and directed... introduces students to historic giants and spurs further exploration" -KCApplauds


"Allows you to see the unsung heroes that helped create him... a must-see" -UNews


"Supported by strong acting and solid, thought-provoking writing... the play serves as an appropriate reminder of the power of youth." -The University Daily Kansan

Original production designs and illustrations by the Kansas City Art Institute Illustration Department's student staffed agency, MICRO: Becoming Martin by Collin Kettler.

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