by Charles Jay
Mike Tyson has gone from Bed-Stuy to Broadway.
Isn’t that cool?
Tyson is ready to team up with Spike Lee, to take the one-man show he was doing in Las Vegas to the Big Apple. Tyson did the show for a week in April, at the MGM Grand, and he’ll now use the Longacre Theater as the venue for the latest venture.
Mike Tyson & Sammy Trocki
Essentially, the Tyson act is not a stage production but instead a confessional, trading on shock value, the first incarnation of which came in the wake of the “Winning” tour done by Charlie Sheen. Tyson is likely to get less in the way of boos, since no one can predict whether he’ll just launch into the audience and clock somebody.
Lee sustained much embarrassment and scorn, and was forced to issue a public apology, back in March when he viciously re-tweeted what he thought was the home address of George Zimmerman to his Twitter following, prompting threats on a elderly couple that had no relation to Zimmerman.
He would appear to be back in safer territory as a producer of the “arts.”
Lee has no problem at all giving out the address of the Longacre (220 West 48th Street). This will be his debut on the Great White Way after some 24 feature films.
The show is called “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” and it’s going to run for six nights, from July 31 to August 5.
There is a special meet-and-greet package for the show that is priced at $299.50.
Lee, who was not involved in Tyson’s Vegas show, says “it takes courage to get in the ring, and it takes courage to get on the stage. Denzel’s not playing Mike, it’s not Sam Jackson. It’s Mike Tyson, in person, on stage. That takes a lot of courage.”
One must wonder how much courage it must have taken to be Brad Pitt the night Tyson caught the superstar actor going back with Robin Givens to her house. Supposedly that is a story he’ll tell in great detail during this stage show. He’ll also talk about his stint in prison, his cocaine addiction, and his relationships with trainer Cus D’Amato and promoter Don King.
To be fair, few people can truly empathize with Tyson’s upbringing, and he doesn’t pull any punches about. it in his show. At the press conference announcement, Tyson said, “They’ll find out that my mother is a prostitute, my father’s a pimp and I come from a real, um, this — I don’t know what — the sex worker world and stuff, you know. That’s why I look at the world from a different perspective than most people when I was a young kid.”
Sugar Ray Leonard was one of the attendees when Tyson debuted his one-man show in Las Vegas, and he was impressed by the former heavyweight champ’s calm demeanor. Tyson looked “focused in a different way, more positive,” he said.
The original idea for the show, according to Tyson, came from Chazz Palminteri’s acclaimed one-man show, “A Bronx Tale,” which opened in Los Angeles and later had an off-Broadway run. The play was later adapted into a film starring Palminteri and Robert DeNiro, and in 2007 ran for 108 performances in a revival on Broadway.
A biographical documentary about Tyson, titled simply “Tyson” and directed by James Toback, was released in 2008 to great critical reviews.
The director of the Vegas act, Randy Johnson, had talked about taking the show to Broadway, and then perhaps to London’s West End. Lee is reportedly doing some refinements to the show that could make the latter happen.