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  Man in the Ring at Court Theatre

Man in the Ring

Court Theatre
5535 S. Ellis Avenue Chicago

Based on the true story of six-time world champion boxer Emile Griffith, Man in the Ring charts Emile's humble beginnings in the U.S. Virgin Islands to his infamous match against his archrival Benny "Kid" Paret. When Benny challenges Emile's sexual identity, Griffith responds in the ring and leaves a mark that lingers long after their legendary encounter. Man in the Ring is a story of violence, love, and life under the public eye-and one man's fight to get the world back in his corner.

Thru - Oct 16, 2016

Wednesdays: 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:30pm & 7:30pm

Price: $45-$65

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-753-4472

Running Time: 1hr, 50mins

Court Theatre Seating Chart

  Man in the Ring Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...This engrossing production, which is an exceptionally artful piece of Chicago theater, achieves a good deal, including the crafting of an aura of inevitability about all those blows, suggesting that Griffith's life story, and the inhospitably homophobic era, meant that something was going to explode eventually, even if his aftermath was of a gentle, chastened, ruined man. It is difficult to watch this show without realizing that sometimes our lives turn on one moment - wherein, perchance, we lose our temper or forget our minds or some such other human failing. In this case, there were momentous consequences."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Boxing, that most primal if ritualized form of human conflict, has been the subject of countless plays and movies. And while I confess to being repelled by the real-life horror and brutality of the sport, its translation into theater is often thrilling and compulsively watchable."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Still, the show delivers ample pathos and a host of riveting moments. Newell has done a masterful job keeping his cast reined in, allowing tiny gestures to speak volumes even when the script might invite grandiose emoting. While every performer shines, Kamal Angelo Bolden as the young Griffith mesmerizes for two hours. By turns childlike, sophisticated, tender, and menacing, he finds nuance where none seems to exist. It's likely the performance of the season."
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Justin Hayford

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...The playbill for this Court Theatre production lists not only a fight consultant, but a medical one as well. Together, Sam Colonna's and William Harper's abilities ensure that Kamal Angelo Bolden and Allen Gilmore, who play, respectively, the young and old Emile-the former reveling in his youthful vitality, the latter racked by dementia, but finding comfort in the arms of his life-partner, sensitively portrayed by Gabriel Ruiz-never spill over into generic stereotype, but retain the gravity appropriate to biographical drama viewed as classical tragedy. Enhancing this ambience is a chorus of auxiliary personae providing a live-action soundscape invoking not only the staccato drumming of fists-on-flesh, but the gentle nature of the child as yet unaware of his destiny as the unwitting instrument of what he most fears."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...The title of Michael Cristofer's play "Man in the Ring," now in its gripping world premiere run at Court Theatre, is double edged. Outwardly, the play is about the meteoric rise and brutal fall of boxer Emile Griffith, among the most dominant champions in pugilistic history. But it's also, in the most essential way, about the loss of innocence and purity and the unfettered joy of being alive."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...This is a refreshingly engrossing drama that is part biography, part boxing play, and a look into the horrors of late life dementia. I canít remember a tighter, more polished world premiere drama on a Chicago stage in many years!. Man in the Ring is one of the finest plays presented in Chicago in 2016! Donít miss this gem."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...As ďMan in the RingĒ ended, I was wiping away tears. This gripping drama is based on the true story of six-time world boxing champion, Emile Griffith. Even though I donít know anything about boxing and Iíd never even heard of Emile Griffith, I still found this touching re-telling of his life story incredibly sad."
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Carol Moore

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"..."Man in the Ring" wants for focus. Scenes can feel isolated due to their lack of connection to what they precede and follow. There is an abundance of themes without much to indicate a moral though this feels very much like a story that can and indeed should have one."
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Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Somewhat Recommended

"..."Man in the Ring" would have been much stronger, had it followed a similar approach, but with the action centered on Allen Gilmore's Griffith and Gabriel Ruiz's Luis, who plays Griffith's lover and caretaker. The scenes between those two characters are undoubtedly the strongest in the entire play, and at the show's end, I found myself wishing their relationship had been the show's heart and soul, rather than one mere element amidst so many other scattered elements."
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Peter Thomas Ricci

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...This is an amazingly talented cast and Newell brings out their finest work. Besides Gilmore, Bolden and Williams, Cox and Brown are both excellent. Brown's scene as the younger Bennie meeting the elder Griffith is heart-wrenching."
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Nancy Bishop

  Man in the Ring Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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