The Royale
Photo by Kristi Jan Hoover.

City Theatre Company
January 21—February 12
Various times

As the country celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day and prepares to usher in the 45th U.S. President, it is a relevant and powerful time to catch the Pittsburgh premiere of Marco Ramirez’s Obie Award-winning new play, The Royale, at City Theatre.

Inspired by the remarkable life and legacy of groundbreaking African-American boxer, Jack Johnson (1898—1946), the compelling new drama arrives in Pittsburgh fresh on the heels of acclaimed productions at NYC’s Lincoln Center Theatre.

Get a ringside seat at the Southside-based theater to explore racial tensions, individual ambition, sporting and social history—all through the dramatic lens of the boxing world at the turn of the 20th century.

Be transported to 1905, as rising star boxer Jay “The Sport” Jackson sets his sights on becoming the heavyweight champion of the world. Follow Jackson’s heroic and symbolic fight, as he faces his fiercest opponent yet and seeks victory against epic odds in the context of a racist Jim Crow America.

Cast of The Royale. Photos courtesy City Theatre.
Cast of The Royale. Photos courtesy City Theatre.

The play draws on the true story of Johnson—who became the the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion and an international figure—when he defeated white champion James J. Jeffries during 1910’s “fight of the century.”

Directed by Stuart Carden—City Theatre’s former associate artistic director—The Royale stars actor Desean Kevin Terry who has appeared in films, Off-Broadway and in hit television shows such as Southland, Shameless and Grey’s Anatomy.

A gifted ensemble of body percussionists directed by Stephanie Paul will create unique soundscapes and rich auditory experiences designed to accompany the on-stage action and augment the “percussive, distinctly musical nature of the sport, the braggadocio of celebrity, [and] the narratives that get spun in and outside of the ring.”

The Royale
Photo by Kristi Jan Hoover.

Explore the knockout drama further at City Theatre’s special public programs, including Sipping Sunday, Sunday Talkbacks and Greenroom Young Professionals Night.

Buy tickets.

Looking for more events? Check out our Top 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in JanuaryTop 9 family events in Pittsburgh this January and our 17 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in 2017 feature stories.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.