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John Douglas Thompson and Kyle Vincent Terry Set for Man in the Ring

Michael Cristofer's new play tells the true story of six-time world champion prizefighter Emile Griffith.

John Douglas Thompson will star alongside Kyle Vincent Terry in Man in the Ring.
(© Tricia Baron)

Casting has been announced for Man in the Ring, a new play written by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer, directed by Michael Greif, and presented by the Huntington Theatre Company from November 16-December 22 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Man in the Ring chronicles the complex true story of six-time world champion prizefighter Emile Griffith, "from his humble beginnings in the Virgin Islands to his passionate love affairs and the tragedy that changed his life." According to press materials, "Griffith's homosexuality was an open secret in the boxing world of the 1960s, and many believe the homophobic taunts from opponent Benny 'the Kid' Paret fired up Griffith in the infamous 1962 fight in Madison Square Garden that led to Griffith's lifelong search for acceptance, redemption, and true love."

The production will feature John Douglas Thompson (Carousel) and Kyle Vincent Terry, who portray Griffith at different stages of his life. Thompson plays Griffith as an older man whose fading mind and memories drive the play's impressionistic, music-filled narrative. Terry plays young Emile, who had a humble Caribbean upbringing and a tumultuous childhood, and whose gentle nature and early desire to be a milliner were swept aside when his physical size and strength led promoters to recruit him into professional boxing.

In addition to Thompson and Terry, the cast for Man in the Ring includes Victor Almanzar as Luis, Starla Benford as Griffith's mother Emelda, Krystal Joy Brown as his wife Sadie, Gordon Clapp as boxing manager and promoter Howie Albert, Sean Boyce Johnson as his rival Benny "the Kid" Paret, Carla Martinez as Paret's wife Lucia, and Eliseo Roman as Paret's manager Manuel Alfaro. The ensemble includes Richard Gatta, Dave Heard, and Michael Underhill as boxers and others. Max Kennedy is the guitarist, and Juan Mejia is the percussionist.

Michael McElroy is the music director and composer of incidental music, Malaiyka Reid is the movement coordinator, David Zinn is the set designer, Emilio Sosa is the costume designer, Ben Stanton is the lighting designer, Matt Tierney is the sound designer, and Peter Nigrini is the projection designer.