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The Royale

From 150 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

About the show

Lincoln Center Theater presents a play loosely based on the life story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion in history. More…

Jay "The Sport" Jackson dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. But it’s 1905, and in the segregated world of boxing, his chances are as good as knocked out. When a crooked boxing promoter hatches a plan for “the fight of the century,” The Sport just might land a place in the ring with the reigning white heavyweight champion. Loosely based on real events, Marco Ramirez’s wildly theatrical new play brings to explosive life the sights and sounds of the early 20th century boxing circuit, and the ultimate fight for a place in history.

Member Reviews (150)


Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent
Avg Score

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you like history of boxing, enjoy clever staging, like finding double meanings, want to explore racial issues in different context & reason

Don't see it if you don't like boxing stories, though this isn't one, can't sympathize with the danger and fear black people felt in America, can't imagine

Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if you like African-American stories or sports stories.

Don't see it if you don't like to use your imagination at a show.

Clever, Entertaining, Slow, Intense, Original

See it if You are interested in the sport of boxing.

Don't see it if You think you're going to witness a play similar to Raging Bull -- this is more thought-provoking.

Banal, Confusing, Indulgent, Insipid

See it if You like lyrical plays where a boxing match is shown not by punches flying, but by banging a pole on the floor loudly.

Don't see it if You think a show about boxing would actually show people throwing punches and hitting someone. What a concept huh?

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Clever

See it if you like great staging. Without a drop of blood or red dye, I felt every punch. I felt the anger. Excellent acting, sound & direction

Don't see it if you need blood to make you feel pain and see the violence. Don't see it if race relations is a topic you cannot face.

Dizzying, Great acting, Ambitious, Overrated, Loud

See it if You like plays about sports. You like to be nearly on top of the action. You enjoy every play about race and class relations.

Don't see it if You dislike being bombarded by very frequent, obnoxiously loud banging. You dislike plays with a large amount of screaming.

Clever, Entertaining, Edgy, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you want to see a show that will make you think, a show that is so well staged it takes your breath away, a show that matters

Don't see it if you want something light and fun

Lyrical, resonant, strong performances

See it if you like stories about boxing, with a historical bent that illuminates race relations at the turn of the century.

Don't see it if you want a light story, have no interest in sports, or don't like a lyrical, almost jazzy style of dialogue and directing.

Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if You're a boxing fan. Excellent performances. Beautiful set. Based on a fascinating true story.

Don't see it if ...that was done better by "The Great White Hope." Gimmicky - at one point, he fights what looks like a giant tampon.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Refreshing, Original

See it if you like a truth based story that relates to contemporary issues.

Don't see it if history is not your preferred method of information gathering

Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Profound

See it if you enjoy the abstract that can trigger your imagination as only live theater can do.

Don't see it if you are looking for the Great White Hope.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Profound, Riveting, Resonant

See it if you're looking for a minimalistic, well-written/performed drama that packs a punch.

Don't see it if you don't want an intellectual evening at the theatre.

Clever, Confusing

See it if you want to see different staging. Kinda entertaining but grows thin. Cleverly done but ending ruins the whole story.

Don't see it if you are not interesting in a boxing story with racial overtones.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Great acting

See it if You are interested in America's racial history, want to see amazing staging, a show about boxing, set in the ring, not one punch thrown.

Don't see it if You do not want to know the truth, do not want to feel the intense pain of suffering caused others.

Absorbing, Great staging, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if Appreciate theatre that depicts American history in a gripping fashion.

Don't see it if Don't like sports inspired stories.

Cliched, Banal, Slow, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you thought Rocky was too violent?

Don't see it if acting is important to you? Glover just seemed to be emphasizing every third word while speaking slowly.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Original, Thought-provoking

See it if you like thought provoking plays that tackle important issues performed by a talented ensemble of actors.

Don't see it if you want something light where you do not have to do much thinking.

Well-crafted, well-acted, intelligent & relevant to today

See it if you like your theater thought-provoking and professional; you know stories from the past have meaning in the world we live in today

Don't see it if you think this solely about boxing (because it is about so much more)-you are uncomfortable with the history of racism

Confusing, Disappointing, Great writing, Overrated

See it if you enjoy innovative staging and direction

Don't see it if you have high expectations for this show

Terrific, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intense

See it if you want to be moved emotionally and kept on the edge of your seat

Don't see it if you are in the mood for a musical or something funny rather than witness racial issues and tension that are bound to impact you.

Absorbing, Great staging, Original, Intelligent

See it if You like a thoughtful production using unique staging and rhythmic sounds to convey the action in the ring. Glover's performance is striking

Don't see it if You don't want to think about the powerful impact of race on actions and outcomes

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Original, Relevant

See it if you want to see a beautiful performance by four outstanding actors who take over the little Newhouse stage with a passionate intensity

Don't see it if you don't want to think about the persistence of discrimination in our country; though set in the past, this story resonates strongly today

Thought-provoking, Intense, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy a small cast and a beautifully told story of the tensions and impacts of our decisions

Don't see it if you want to avoid the intensity of exploring the implications of racial injustices

Banal, Cliched, Indulgent, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if Overly presentational w/ too little clear story telling. Cast bangs, claps, shouts and poses which becomes thoroughly irritating. Awful.

Don't see it if Well, if you believe the good review, by all means spend your money. Then write up your opinion here. It's easy.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see

See it if you like boxing, historical plays, and great acting.

Don't see it if you're in the mood for something fluffy and feel-good.

March 7th, 2016
"Marco Ramirez’s absorbing drama…Staged with a swift, stark lyricism by the impossibly versatile Rachel Chavkin, 'The Royale' boldly takes on and reorients a familiar genre and a familiar tale…The entire cast of this production embody their parts with laser sharpness…Occasionally the script tips ...
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March 8th, 2016
"Not a single flesh-on-flesh punch lands in Marco Ramirez’s intensely focused boxing drama, yet it’s like you see the blood and teeth flying and hear the crunch of broken ribs. In 'The Royale', the endless sucker punch of a historically racist society is the chief means of violence. Words are ano...
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March 7th, 2016
"Featuring elaborately stylized staging that fails to compensate for the thin writing, 'The Royale' doesn't fulfill the promise of its powerful subject…The evening only sporadically comes to dramatic life…To make up for the skimpiness of the material, the dialogue is frequently accompanied by rhy...
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March 7th, 2016
"Sometimes the most powerful fights are the ones we have in our own minds — a fact vividly depicted in 'The Royale,' a riveting play by Marco Ramirez…A spare and intimate story of internal struggles, propelled by the dynamic, imaginative direction of Rachel Chavkin and performed by a terrific qui...
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