Huntington Theatre Company’s production of Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer’s Man in the Ring, about the life of six-time world champion prizefighter Emile Griffith, begins performances November 16.
Two-time Tony nominee John Douglas Thompson (Carousel, Jitney) and Kyle Vincent Terry (Othello at NYTW) portray Griffith at different stages of his life.
They are joined by Victor Almanzar (Between Riverside and Crazy) as Luis, Griffith’s lover and later his caretaker; Starla Benford (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Griffith’s mother Emelda; Krystal Joy Brown (Motown) as his wife Sadie; Emmy winner Gordon Clapp (NYPD Blue) as boxing manager and promoter Howie Albert; Sean Boyce Johnson (To Kill a Mockingbird at Pendragon Theatre) as his rival Benny “the Kid” Paret; Carla Martinez (Merrily We Roll Along at the Huntington) as Paret’s wife Lucia; and Eliseo Roman (On Your Feet!) as Paret’s manager Manuel Alfaro.
The ensemble includes Richard Gatta, Dave Heard, and Michael Underhill. Max Kennedy is the guitarist, and Juan Mejia is the percussionist.
Man in the Ring chronicles Griffith’s sweeping life story, from his humble beginnings in the Virgin Islands to his passionate love affairs and the tragedy that changed his life.
“One of the hardest things to do in theatre is to tell the full story of a complex person’s life,” says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “Michael Cristofer beautifully captures the excessive, eccentric, and emotional parts of Emile’s amazing story by mixing the champ’s easy charm with the raw and traumatic things he experienced.”
“Emile Griffith was a true hero in my book,” adds playwright Cristofer. “He was a young immigrant from the Virgin Islands and a man struggling with his identity while in a brutal sport who, as an older man slipping into dementia, worked to find peace amid the love, pain, and joy that was his life.”
The creative team also includes music director-composer Michael McElroy, movement coordinator Malaiyka Reid, set designer David Zinn, costume designer Emilio Sosa, lighting designer Ben Stanton, sound designer Matt Tierney, projection designer Peter Nigrini, fight director Rick Sordelet, co-fight director Christian Kelly Sordelet, and dialogue coach Deborah Hecht. Emily F. McMullen is the production stage manager, and Jeremiah Mullane is the stage manager.
For ticket information visit huntingtontheatre.org.
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(Updated November 16, 2018)