The infamous Mike Tyson, arguably the greatest and most controversial champion in the history of professional boxing, is heading to Broadway. This summer, the former champ brings his one-man show “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth” to the Great White Way of Manhattan after it debuted April 13 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
Tyson has had a few small roles on screen in the past in which he mostly played himself, but this time he is going completely out of his comfort zone. His one-man, semi-autobiographical production was a hit earlier in the year, and after its success he has teamed up with director and Academy Award nominee Spike Lee to bring the show to the Big Apple. It is set to open on July 31 and wrap up August 12, giving audiences a glimpse into the former champ’s rollercoaster life.
Tyson made boxing history in 1986 when, at age 20, he became the youngest heavyweight champion ever after defeating Trevor Berbick. Since then his life, both personal and professional, has been marred with controversy including accusations of rape, domestic violence, and rampant drug use.
The show promises “a rare, personal look inside the life and mind of one of the most feared men ever to wear the heavyweight crown,” chronicling events that helped shape Tyson’s life, for better or for worse. Standout events include the failed marriage to Robin Givens that drastically effected his boxing career and a three-year prison sentence for rape.
During the show, Tyson tells the story of his life, including both the highs and the lows. The show covers his birth to a prostitute mother and pimp father, continuing with the early days of his boxing career training under Cus D’Amato, and onward to prison, bankruptcy, and its aftermath. In Tyson’s own words, his show is “raw” and “filthy,” and during it he is “very vulnerable.”
According to The New York Times, Tyson and his wife, Kiki, got the idea for the show after watching Chazz Palminteri’s semi-autobiographical one-man show “A Bronx Tale. ” Tyson’s version was co-written by his wife and Randy Johnson, director of their Vegas production. According to the new director, Spike Lee, “human beings want to hear stories… with Mike Tyson on the stage, you are going to hear a great American story.”
“Undisputed Truth” will be the first time that Lee and “Iron” Mike Tyson work together, and it will also mark both of their Broadway debuts. Tyson is excited to work with the talented director to bring his story to the Big Apple. In a statement he released earlier, he said, “it is an honor to work with Spike Lee,” and “sharing the highlights and lowlights of my life with New York is especially important to me as I was born and raised in Brooklyn.”
The production was originally scheduled for only six runs at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway, but it has since been extended to twelve. Tickets are on sale now. A limited number of exclusive VIP packages are also available that include a meet-and-greet with the former champ after the show.