★★★★★ - Irresistible
The LAB LV’s production of THE ROYALE marvelously transports audiences into playwright Marco Ramirez’ stylized and stunning conception of the life of Jack “the Galveston Giant” Johnson. Venture deep into the leading character's psyche, inside the mind of Jay “The Sport” Jackson, (a Johnson surrogate) during a racially segregated 1905 USA, as he dares to change the course of history and become the first African American Heavyweight Champion of the world.
This cathartic, raw theatrical gem runs only through November 24th, at The Playhouse, 528 South Decatur Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89107.
“The Great White Hope,” Howard Sackler’s 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama with a film version starring James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander, focused on the struggles Johnson faced after becoming the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. THE ROYALE, Marco Ramirez’s percussively staged study of the boxer, concerns itself with the difficulties Johnson encountered on his way to the title.
Ben Brantley said of this New York Times Critic's Pick in 2016, "The sweet science of boxing... has seldom been played as quietly or as resonantly as it is in THE ROYALE...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."