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Sports once again serves as the inspiration for the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Studio Theater’s final 2016-2017 production, The Royale. 

The Royale, by Marco Ramirez, directed by Stuart Carden follows black prizefighter Jay “The Sport” Jackson, Loosely based on iconic fighter Jack Johnson, known as the Galveston Giant who become the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion in 1908. The drama brings the audience ringside to one man’s quest for victory against all odds - at a time in history that forces Jackson to fight twice as hard to earn recognition outside the ring.

The boxing drama in which bouts are staged as bursts of musical rhythm, this fresh piece runs through March 26 in the Emerson Studio Theatre of the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts. The cast features the Rep debuts of Akron Lanier Watson as Jackson, who most recently appeared in the ensemble for the Broadway revival of The Color Purple. Samuel Ray Gates appears as Jackson’s trainer, Wynton. The rest of the cast includes Lance Baker (Max), Bernard Gilbert (Fish), Bria Walker (Nina) and Webster University students Maalik Shakoor and Jarris Williams (ensemble).

Curtain times are Tuesdays at 7 pm; Wednesdays—Fridays at 8 pm; Saturday matinees at 4 pm; selected Saturday nights at 8 pm; Sunday matinees at 2 pm; and Sunday evenings at 7 pm.

Tickets are available at The Rep Box Office, located inside the Loretto-Hilton Center, by phone at (314) 968-4925 and online at