by Marco Ramirez
directed by Kyle Haden
JULY 15 – SEPT 2
RUTH HUMPHREYS BROWN THEATRE
A knock-out drama…
Jay “The Sport” Jackson dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. But it’s 1905, and in the racially segregated world of boxing, his chances may be as good as knocked out. But when the fight of his life comes calling, Jay must face both his future and the shadow of his past. Inspired by the life of Jack Johnson, The Royale brings to explosive life the ultimate fight for a place in history.
This play contains strong language and mature content, including descriptions of self harm, racism, and racial violence.
This show is not recommended for young children and children under the age of 5 will not be admitted. Please see CRT’s complete list of Content Advisories and Trigger Warnings for additional information.
During ASL-interpreted performances, American Sign Language interpreters are located near the stage. Patrons using this service will be seated in an area that gives the best sight lines to follow both the interpretation and the action on stage. One signed performance will be offered for each CRT production Aug 11 – 13, 2023.
Seating in the designated area (denoted by an ear icon) may be purchased online, through firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the box office at (719) 658-2540 (voice).
“Just remember, whatever you write about me, that I was a man.” – Jack Johnson
“Society was in trouble, and Jack was just being himself.” – James Earl Jones, on Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson was not perfect; he was a flawed human being who made many mistakes. He knew this. He was also one of the greatest heavyweights boxing has ever known, who reached the height of his powers at a time when American society was not ready for a Black champion. He probably knew this, too.
Marco Ramirez’s play about Jay “The Sport” Jackson gives us a peek at what obstacles Jack Johnson faced on his way to becoming the heavyweight champion of the world, and how he might have dealt with them. As we move further into the 21st century and watch our latest generation of athletic heroes start to ride off into the sunset (Tom Brady, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Sue Bird, Mike Krzyzewski) or edge towards the exit (Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi, LeBron James), I think about: what do we ask of our heroes? What did we ask of Jack Johnson? Is it his fault that society wasn’t ready for his greatness? Didn’t know what to do with his charisma, his style and flair, his brashness? His Blackness?
We were disappointed to not have a chance to tell this story last summer. But – cue the boxing metaphor – like any great champion, we’re back in the ring, and we’re coming out swinging. We’re glad you’re back with us to share in this story.
CAST & CREATIVE TEAM
Alethia Moore-Del Monaco
Diana Ben Kiki