The Lincoln Center Theater production of Marco Ramirez's The Royale officially opens March 7. The new play tells the story of African-American heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who fought for greater equality in and out of the boxing ring. Leading the cast as the famed boxer is Khris Davis, who is making his New York stage debut.
Davis is joined by Broadway vets Montego Glover, playing his sister, and Clarke Peters in the role of his coach. The complete cast also includes McKinley Belcher III and John Lavelle. Rachel Chavkin directs the production at Off-Broadway's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater; performances began February 11.
Ramirez is an award-winning writer for the hit TV series Orange Is the New Black and Sons of Anarchy. The Royale received its world premiere at Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group in 2013 and has since enjoyed stagings in San Diego and the U.K.
Here's how production notes describe the play: "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 (Davis), 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."
The production features sets by Nick Vaughan, costumes by Dede Ayite, lights by Austin R. Smith and sound by Matt Hubbs.
The Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater is located at 150 West 65th St. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit LCT.org.