Chicago’s Court Theatre will present the world premiere of Michael Cristofer’s Man in the Ring, based on the true story of six-time world champion boxer Emile Griffith, September 15-October 16.
Directed by Court artistic director Charles Newell, the cast includes Kamal Angelo Bolden (Young Emile), Melanie Brezill (Sadie/Lucia/ensemble), Sheldon Brown (Bennie/Bennie Jr./ensemble), Thomas Cox (Howie/ensemble), Allen Gilmore (Emile), Gabriel Ruiz (Luis/ensemble), Sean Michael Sullivan (ensemble) and Jacqueline Williams (Emelda/ensemble).
Opening night is set for September 24.
Based on the story of boxer Emile Griffith, Man in the Ring, according to the Court, “charts Emile’s humble beginnings in the U.S. Virgin Islands to his infamous match against his archrival Benny ‘Kid’ Paret. When Benny challenges Emile's sexual identity, Griffith responds in the ring and leaves a mark that lingers long after their legendary encounter. Man in the Ring is a story of violence, love, and life under the public eye—and one man’s fight to get the world back in his corner.”
“We have dreamed of Court Theatre being a place where distinguished artists are willing to bring their newest and most daring works,” said artistic director Newell. “We are thrilled to be able to present this world premiere of Man in the Ring, which is inspired by and made possible by true artists, on our stage to open our 62nd season at Court.”
Other members of the creative team include John Culbert (scenic design), Jacqueline Firkins (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design), Andre Pluess (sound design), Tommy Rapley (fight choreography) and Amanda Weener-Frederick (production stage manager).
Playwright Cristofer received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play for The Shadow Box in 1977. His other plays include Breaking Up (Primary Stages); Ice (Manhattan Theatre Club); Black Angel (Circle Repertory Company); The Lady and the Clarinet, starring Stockard Channing; and Amazing Grace, starring Marsha Mason.
The Court Theatre is located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue in Chicago, IL. For more information and tickets, call (773) 753-4472 or visit CourtTheatre.org.