Actor Spotlight

Venerable Dallas actor confesses love of Shakespeare and Eddie Murphy

Venerable Dallas actor confesses love of Shakespeare and Eddie Murphy

Annalee Jefferies and Hassan El-Amin in Dallas Theater Center's Driving Miss Daisy
Hassan El-Amin with Annalee Jefferies in Driving Miss Daisy. Photo by Karen Almond

Before he was a member of Dallas Theater Center's Brierley Resident Acting Company, Hassan El-Amin was honing his considerable skills in theaters across the nation (Kennedy Center, the Guthrie, the Goodman — just to name a few).

Now Dallasites can see El-Amin in several shows throughout each DTC season, in roles ranging from lead (Hoke the chauffeur in Driving Miss Daisy) to memorable supporting player (a poker-playing buddy in The Odd Couple). He also recently won DFW Critics Forum Awards for his performances in Radio Golf and A Soldier's Play at African American Repertory Theater.

From September 16 through November 15, El-Amin will tackle what he admits is his most challenging role yet: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He'll be portraying the civil rights leader in Katori Hall's play The Mountaintop. The fictional imagining of the night before Dr. King's assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, is a meaty, two-person drama that explores the human side of near-mythological figures.

He took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun, and sometimes ridiculous questions.

Name: Hassan El-Amin

Role in The Mountaintop:  Dr. Martin Luther King

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Where you currently reside: Dallas, TX

First theater role: C.J. (a young Christian saint) in Tambourines to Glory by Langston Hughes

First stage show you ever saw: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: After performing as a guest vocalist in a community theater play

Most challenging role you’ve played: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Special skills: I’m a loving father

Something you’re REALLY bad at: Ballet

Current pop culture obsession: None

Last book you read: Instinct (The Power to Unleash your Inborn Drive) by T.D Jakes

Favorite movie(s): Coming to America, Imitation of Life

Favorite musician(s): Marvin Gaye

Favorite song: "Didn’t I Blow Your Mind," "What’s Going On"

Dream role: Richard III

Favorite play(s): Fences, King Lear, A Soldier’s Play

Favorite musical(s): Dreamgirls, Motown the Musical

Favorite actors/actresses: Jeffery Wright, Viola Davis

Favorite food: Chicken teriyaki

Must-see TV show(s): Sportscenter

Pre-show warm-up: Stretching, vocalizing, and reading the play

Favorite part about your current role: The challenge

Most challenging part about your current project: Capturing the essence and aura of Dr. Martin L. King Jr.

Most embarrassing onstage mishap: Dancing naked onstage in Dream on Monkey Mountain and having a woman scream out as she exited the theater, “Shame, shame on your nakedness!”

Career you’d have if you weren’t in theater: High school counselor

Favorite post-show spot: Home

Favorite thing about Dallas-Forth Worth: My baby daughter lives here and my mother lives only 89 miles away.

Most memorable theater moment: Opening night of The Lion King at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles [as a cast member].