The Royale OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    March 7, 2016
    Closing:
    May 1, 2016

    Theater: Mitzi E. Newhouse / 150 West 65th Street, New York, NY, 10023

    Synopsis: 

    Loosely based on the real-life experiences of Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight world champion, "The Royale" tells, in six rounds, the fictional story of Jay “The Sport” Johnson, a charismatic Negro Heavyweight Champion. It’s 1905 and as Johnson faces his opponents—and confronts his demons—he exposes the troublesome events in his life that have propelled him into the ring with a burning desire to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Royale

    ‘The Royale’ Harks Back to the Fighter Jack Johnson

    Ben Brantley

    March 7, 2016: Jay Jackson has found the zone, a place where all he hears is the upbeat percussion of his own thoughts and the drumming of flesh hitting flesh. A declaration of satisfaction purrs out of this perfectly proportioned giant, delivered both to himself and to the young opponent who has surprised him by giving almost as good as he gets: “We’re making music, boy.” That’s the music of the sweet science of boxing. And it has seldom been played as quietly or as resonantly as it is in “The Royale,” Marco Ramirez’s absorbing drama about a black prizefighter in the early 20th century, which opened on Monday night at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center. That this production never deploys real physical blows in recreating life in the ring is by no means to say that it doesn’t pack a punch. Staged with a swift, stark lyricism by the impossibly versatile Rachel Chavkin, “The Royale” boldly takes on and reorients a familiar genre and a familiar tale. Jay Jackson (played by Khris Davis), known in the trade and tabloids as Sport and “the black bringer of retribution,” is yet another character inspired by Jack Johnson (1878-1946), the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion.

    READ THE REVIEW

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