FAMU essential theatre to showcase life and times of boxer

Flyer for the Essential Theatre play "Sugar Ray"
Courtesy of The FAMU Essential Theatre.

 The Florida A&M University Essential Theatre is presenting “Sugar Ray” at the Ronald O. Davis Acting Studio. The play will be directed by Luther D. Wells.

Wells is excited to show his take of the story. He is hoping that the audience will take away some knowledge and better understanding of Sugar Ray Robinson, especially people that aren’t already familiar with the boxing legend’s life story and career.

“When I saw the play, I thought there were moments and things that needed to be brought out more,” Wells said. “Once I got a chance to read it I had a totally different perspective about the piece and what had originally been done.”

Wells was in the audience to see the earlier version of the play that was directed by Woodie King.

The show is a portrayal of the life and legacy of Sugar Ray Robinson, who was a professional boxer that struggled with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Born Walker Smith Jr., the play will be depicting moments from both Robinson’s past and present.

Robinson was dedicated to his craft in the ring and an inspiration to those who witnessed his growth. A prominent boxer from 1940 until 1965, Robinson led to the creation of the “pound for pound” rankings which compared fighters regardless of weight due to his performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions.

The one-man show was written by Laurence Holder and will be performed by FAMU’s alumnus Reginald Wilson has already achieved great compliments.

Wilson is familiar with both the story and the character from previously starring in the earlier version, where he captivated audiences and received vast praise from the viewers.

According to The FAMU Essential Theatre’s Facebook page, FAMU nostalgia is what led Wilson to take on the role.

“Wilson’s fond memories and association with the FAMU theatre program inspired him to present four benefit performances,” the page explained.

The play is a part of the department’s “Theatre Unbound Series.” This series strives to present thought-provoking and challenging content that leaves the viewer questioning their world-view and thoughts.

The goal of the show is for the audience to gain a greater appreciation for this particular individual and historical figure.

The Essential Theatre hopes that those in attendance will leave the show impressed by Wilson’s performance and excited to learn more about Robinson.

Although the seating is limited, “Sugar Ray” can be seen November 30- December 2, 2018. The show times are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2pm and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3p.m.

Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for Senior Citizens & FAMU Employees who present ID; $8 for Students and Children; and $5 for FAMU Students with valid ID.