The Royale

The Royale NYC Reviews and Tickets

(153 Ratings)
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.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (153)

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68 Reviews | 63 Followers
Exquisite, Must see, Original, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if You want an entertaining, original, thought-provoking show with great acting and direction, a layered discussion of race and representation.

Don't see it if You want a mindless comedy. Otherwise, see it!

216 Reviews | 58 Followers
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.

188 Reviews | 71 Followers
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You love good theater. The set, staging, acting, lighting... everything was meticulously planned, and beautifully executed.

Don't see it if you're looking for something uplifting

156 Reviews | 62 Followers
Great acting, Great staging, Epic

See it if You want terrific performances, gorgeous writing, incredibly inventve staging and a true exploration of racism that is still timely.

Don't see it if Expect to see a real boxing match.

269 Reviews | 81 Followers
Profound, Intelligent, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful

See it if It is a beautiful transformative piece of theater art; holds a life lesson for all of us and touches a painful part of our American history

Don't see it if Don’t see it if boxing and the use and abuse of people is too upsetting for you.

87 Reviews | 37 Followers
Great staging, Fresh approach to historical boxing story, Close look at american racism, Choreographed beautifully with staccato sounds, Amazing cast

See it if you are interested in an aspect of American racism in boxing, love good writing and wonderful staging, Want to be enveloped in the moment.

Don't see it if Are uncomfortable with discussion of racism in America; surrealistic fight scenes with sound, or you want a light frothy play with no depth.

273 Reviews | 200 Followers
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.

108 Reviews | 35 Followers
Exquisite, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if you're ready for an emotional journey. It perfectly captures and distills the legacy of the racial divide in the U.S. Exquisite acting!

Don't see it if -you're indifferent or in denial about the racial divide in the U.S. -you don't like serious drama -you want something light and fluffy

Critic Reviews (29)

The New York Times
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 into overstatement and overexplanation…But you don’t feel like picking apart the individual elements when they cohere into such an organic whole."
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Time Out New York
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 another, and they come fast and furious in a percussive script…The big showdown is handled in a fairly ingenious and surprising manner. It connects and it bruises."
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March 7th, 2016

"Much of the dialogue among the four men has the rhythm of jazz; the words and actions punctuated by syncopated clapping and stomping…Rachel Chavkin, an inventive and keen director, knows her immersive theater and she also, on the evidence, honors writers. So do the design team...'The Royale' has heart and a conscience, and it’s unquestionably the work of a writer still finding his voice. Like his champion Jay, he’s got style."
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New York Daily News
March 7th, 2016

"Newcomer Khris Davis brings muscle and fine acting chops as Jay. Montego Glover adds steely passion as his concerned sister…Rachel Chavkin replaces typical jabs and hooks with claps and stomps and makes you look at fight scenes with fresh eyes. She also imagines the championship fight in an ingenious way that involves Jay’s family. The terrific performances and the striking, stylized staging deliver one-two punches."
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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 quintet of actors…It’s a struggle made all the more dramatic by a coup de theatre that has the boxer realizing this battle is as personal as it gets."
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The Hollywood Reporter
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 rhythmic hand-clapping, a repetitive device that quickly becomes annoying...The actors' strong efforts aren't enough to make the play feel anything other than pedestrian."
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March 7th, 2016

"Chavkin's rendering realizes every bit of tragic theater that the primal sport embodies…Scene after scene of Ramirez's thick dialogue can sit heavily on the brain. When it's roused by Chavkin's clear aesthetic point of view, the narrative comes to life…Just as Ramirez builds his own version of the great Jack Johnson's history, Chavkin interprets the power struggle that occurs when two boxers enter the ring. Each takes liberties with reality, but both artists' renderings couldn't be more truthful."
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March 8th, 2016

"Marco Ramirez's inventively-crafted 'The Royale,' given a tense, rhythmic and evocative mounting by Rachel Chavkin, merits high scores of its own…Davis' attention moves seamlessly as his character goes back and forth from sparring with Fish to sparring with the press...The championship match is represented with unexpected dramatics, as Jay must eventually learn the price of his victories, and of the victories of his people."
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