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Spike Lee reportedly to team with Mike Tyson on Broadway

June 04, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • A moment with the former champ during his one-man show at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
A moment with the former champ during his one-man show at the MGM Grand Hotel… (John Gurzinski / AFP Getty…)

Continuing an improbable career arc that somehow progressed from most feared man to ever step into a boxing ring to Funny or Die political satirist, former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson is on his way toward taking his one-man show "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" to Broadway.

Tyson reportedly is in talks with Spike Lee to direct the show, which could come to the Great White Way as early as this summer after making its debut at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the show enjoyed a weeklong run in April.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal gave a positive review of Tyson's onstage debut, calling it "a win," while the former champ was a bit more measured in a recent interview with Business Week, where he said, "You'll laugh, cry, be bewildered."

In its present form, the play's more than two-hour running time covers Tyson's rough, controversy-ridden life that includes drug abuse, bankruptcy and a 1992 rape conviction that resulted in a three-year prison term and a conversion to Islam. Tyson's fight career is understandably a major topic, including his now-infamous ear-biting incident in a fight with Evander Holyfield, which also happened at the MGM Grand. 

A director who isn't shy about controversy in his own right, Lee is no stranger to directing nonfiction narratives with complex characters, with a list of credits that includes 1992's "Malcolm X" and the 2001 documentary, "A Huey P. Newton Story." He also directed "Stalag 17" on Broadway in 2007, and filmed the Tony Award-winning musical "Passing Strange" for a limited theatrical release in 2009.

Lee is said to be working with theater mogul Jimmy Nederlander Jr. to bring the show to Broadway.

ALSO:

Q&A: Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson wants to take Vegas show to Broadway

Mike Tyson to debut onstage in one-man show about himself in Vegas

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