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New Chicago Play Chronicles St. Thomian Griffith’s Legal Boxing Killing of Benny Paret In The Ring

UNITED STATES - MARCH 24: Emile Griffith vs Benny Paret, Benny (Kid) Paret lies helpless against ropes as flailing fists of Emile Gfriffith batter him into unconsciousness during twelfth round of their welterweight championship fight at the Garden . Ref Ruby Goldstein pulled Griffith off the champ who slumped to the canvas. It was ruled a TKO at 2:09 of the twelfth. paret was removed, still unconscous, to Roosevelt Hospital after getting last rites in dressing room. (Photo by Charles Hoff/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – MARCH 24: Emile Griffith vs Benny Paret, Benny “Kid” Paret lies helpless against ropes as flailing fists of Emile Gfriffith batter him into unconsciousness during twelfth round of their welterweight championship fight at the Garden . Ref Ruby Goldstein pulled Griffith off the champ who slumped to the canvas. It was ruled a TKO at 2:09 of the twelfth. paret was removed, still unconscous, to Roosevelt Hospital after getting last rites in dressing room. (Photo by Charles Hoff/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

By HEIDI WEISS/SPECIAL TO THE V.I. FREE PRESS

Something brand new. Something ancient Greek. Something African American. Something British. And an old chestnut just for fun. That’s the mix for Court Theatre’s 2016-17 season.

Here’s a closer look at the lineup:
“Man in the Ring,” a world premiere by Michael Cristofer, directed by Charles Newell (Sept. 15-Oct. 16): Based on the true story of six-time world champion boxer Emile Griffith, the play charts Emile’s humble beginnings in St. Thomas to his infamous match against his arch-rival Benny “Kid” Paret.

When Benny questions Emile’s sexual preferences, Griffith responds in the ring and leaves a mark that lingers long after their legendary encounter. (Cristofer received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play for “The Shadow Box” in 1977). The show will feature Kamal Angelo Bolden.

Emile Alphonse Griffith (February 3, 1938 – July 23, 2013) was a professional boxer from Charlotte Amalie who became a world champion in the welterweight and middleweight classes.

His best known contest was a 1962 title match with Benny Paret. At the weigh in, Paret infuriated Griffith, a bisexual man, by touching his buttocks and making homophobic remarks.

Griffith won the bout by knockout; Paret never recovered consciousness and died in the hospital 10 days later.

Subscriptions (for three, four or five shows) to Court’s 2016-17 season range from $90 to $280 and are on sale now. Call (773) 753-4472 or visit http://www.CourtTheatre.org. Individual tickets for all shows will be available on Aug. 1.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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