August is hot, but Spike Lee is COOL!!! Spike is having a MOMENTOUS month, as his newly directed play starring the former heavyweight boxing champion, “Mike Tyson, Undisputed Truth,” opened Thursday night at the Longacre Theater, in the heart of Broadway, for a 12 performance run through August 12, 2012, and his highly anticipated film, “Red Hook Summer,” will premiere early next week and open August 10, 2012!!! ”Yeah, boy!”
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"Mike Tyson, Undisputed Truth," written by Mike’s wife, Kiki Tyson, Directed by Spike Lee, Article by Sharon Abella
Spike has broken the curse of the Longacre Theater, as this French neo-classical building was constructed by former owner of the Boston Red Sox, Harry Frazee. Evidentally, Frazee generated the money for his theater endeavours by selling Babe Ruth’s contract to the New York Yankees, and as a result, it remains cursed and weary producers avoid it for fear their play will be unsuccessful.
When you walk in to the Longacre, you feel as if you are walking into a trendy, off-Broadway show as there are banners strung from the balcony with Brooklyn neighborhoods written on them, Mike Tyson’s tattoo drawn on the curtain, and two very hip DJ’s spinning classic 80′s rap tunes from the balcony!!! I can’t remember if they played this one or not, if they didn’t, they should!!!
As the curtain goes up, there stands the vulnerable and often misunderstood Mike Tyson, who has battled crime, drugs, and poverty both in the early stages of his life in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and again, once he became a famous, heavyweight boxing champion. In this solemn soliloquy, Mike is very successful and genuine at sharing his life story with the audience. He delivers cleverly written lines that try to ease the pain and suffering he has faced. “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, my ass,” he said in jest. From his childhood upbringing in Brownsville, where, he and his friends were always getting into trouble, to his confrontations with ex-wife, Robin Given, and boxing promoter, Don King, you will feel sympathetic towards his hardships. During his early years, Mike was in and out of a Brooklyn detention center so many times that he described it as “summer camp” and like an episode of Cheers, “where everybody knows your name.” Women have been his weakness. He described, with great humor, the story when he found Robin together with a young Brad Pitt. “I knew it was her car, because I bought it for her.” Mike goes on to describe the look on Brad Pitt’s face when he and Robin pulled up at Robin’s house to find Mike waiting in the driveway. ”Brad started to move around like one of the Matrix characters.”
There are some good things that have come out of such a bittersweet existence though, his relationship with Cus D’Amato, his family, his third wife and their children, and, although the play does not touch on them in very much detail, “The Hangover,” and his wins in the ring.
Music in Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth:
“Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole, “Brown Baby” by Nina Simone, “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone, “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder, “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen, “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton, “Gold Digger” by Kanye West, “Theme from “Cheers” by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo, “Wildflower” by New Birth, “Black Butterfly” by Denience Williams, “I Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer” by Stevie Wonder, and “Song for You” by Donny Hathaway.
A redemption story. “Mike Tyson, Undisputed Truth,” may be extended for a third week. See it if you can.
Article by Sharon Abella
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