The royale

by Marco Ramirez
Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh

Mar 10 - Mar 31, 2019

It's the height of the Jim Crow era and Jay "The Sport" Jackson is fighting to be the first African American heavyweight world champion. Join the crowd ringside as he bobs and weaves his way through a segregated country, trying to stay on his feet. Inspired by the story of ground-breaking boxer Jack Johnson, The Royale examines what it takes to gain a place in history.




JAMAL JAMES (Jay) is absolutely thrilled to make his debut at the Kitchen Theatre with this firecracker of a play. Born and raised in Centreville, VA, Jamal graduated with a B.F.A. from Emory & Henry College and has been working in NYC and around the country ever since. A proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA, he spends most of his time letting out his inner kid...and forcing everyone around him to do the same. His favorite credits include The Color Purple (National Tour, Papermill Playhouse), Welcome To Fear City (KC Rep), Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? (Lyceum Theatre), Illa: A Hip-Hop Musical (Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center), Jedi Training (Disney World), Titus Adronicus (Hamlet Isn't Dead), Peter and the Starcatcher (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Milwaukee Rep), The Last Five Years (Porchlight Productions Theatre), Beauty and the Beast (Barter Theatre),and Violet: The Musical (Barter Theatre). You may have even recently seen him on the last season of Gotham. All the love and respect to God, Mom, Dad, Jared, Nikki, Lamar, James, Shronda, Nate, Seth, Brooke (because "Squeezes") Mama B, and the wonderful cast and crew of this production. Enjoy!


SEAN MEEHAN (Max) received his MFA in Acting from the Trinity Repertory Conservatory. Theatre work includes; The New Group, La Mama Annex and HERE Arts Center (NYC); Woolly Mammoth Theatre (DC), Milwaukee Rep and the Theatre of St Louis. Film and television work includes "Weightless," HBO's "The Normal Heart," "The Deuce," CBS's "Elementary," "Madam Secretary," "Shades of Blue," "The Good Wife," and Netflix's "Maniac." He lives on the lip of the Hudson and walks a small white dog.


LISA THARPS (Nina) Medea - Medea, Boston Court Theater (Garland, LA Critics, LA Weekly NAACP nominations for Best Leading Actress); Broadway: Nurse - Romeo and Juliet - New Victory Theater; Tonya (und) - King Hedley II, Virginia Theatre; Principal Player - Love’s Fire: Fresh Numbers - Public Theater, London’s Barbican Pit, Nat’l Tour; Off Broadway: Olivia - Twelfth Night - Boomerang Theatre; Paulina - The Winter’s Tale - NY Classical; Wit - MCC, Union Square, Nat’l Tour; Principal Player, The Vagina Monologues, Nat’l Tour; Titania - Midsummer Night’s Dream -  Shakespeare Theater of DC: TV - airing in 2018: "Jessica Jones" (Det. Ruth Sunday), “Power”, “Madam Secretary”, “Elementary”. Film: MADELINE’S MADELINE (Gotham’s/Spirit Awards’ noms for Best Feature, Cinematography); UNC School of the Arts, Graduate. Grateful.


DAZMANN STILL (Fish) is a New York-based actor. He is a member of the first graduating class of Pace University's BFA in Acting for Film, Television, Voiceovers, and Commercials. Two years out of school, he is incredibly grateful to be working alongside experienced and talented artists. His stage credits include performances with Hi-ARTS, Match: Lit, The HERE Arts Center, the Bechdel Group, and The Kennedy Center. His TV credits include a Guest Star role on "Bull", a Co-Star on "The Last O.G." and a commercial spot for the Maryland Lottery. He is an upstate native from Rochester, and so he's hyped to perform as a professional artist so close to home! As always, he sends all the love to his mom that she deserves for being the hidden half of the hustle. He hopes you enjoy!


ALEXANDER THOMAS (Wynton) lives in Toronto where he just appeared this past Fall as Wynton in the Canadian premiere of The Royale (Soulpepper Theatre Company) and is thrilled for the opportunity to further explore this extraordinary play. Other Toronto credits: Hangman(Storefront Theatre); A Girl Lives Alone (Toronto Summer Works;) The Nails (Toronto Summer Works); Letters to Annabelle (Toronto Fringe); and the world premiere of For Both Resting and Breeding (Talk is Free Theatre).

Kitchen audiences know him from Sunset Baby, The Whipping Man, Opus, Broke-ology, After Ashley, Black Stuff and his solo show Throw Pitchfork, which had it's premiere off Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop and not just one, but two productions at the Kitchen, in 2002 and in 2016.

He was in the U.K. production of On the Waterfront directed by Steven Berkoff (London's West End / Edinburg Festival / Hong Kong Arts Festival) and The Goat or Who is Sylvia? (Actors Repertory Theatre Luxemburg).

His own play Schwarz Gemacht was produced in Germany at the English Theatre of Berlin in 2014 and brought back in 2015.

Creative Team


MARCO RAMIREZ (Playwright) has had plays produced at Lincoln Center Theater, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (DC), The Humana Festival (Louisville), The Old Globe (San Diego), The Bush Theatre (London), American Theater Company (Chicago), and Center Theatre Group (LA). Honors include the Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Playwriting Award, Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship, Lincoln Center’s Le Comte du Nouy Award, and TCG’s Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. A WGA and Emmy Award-nominated TV writer, he is currently an Executive Producer and Showrunner of the high profile reboot of THE TWILIGHT ZONE for CBS All Access alongside Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg. Previously, he was the showrunner on Marvel’s THE DEFENDERS (Netflix), and was an Executive Producer on Marvel’s DAREDEVIL (Netflix). Other TV credits include: SONS OF ANARCHY (FX), ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (Netflix), DA VINCI’S DEMONS (Starz), and FEAR THE WALKING DEAD (AMC). He trained at both NYU and The Juilliard School.


PIRRONNE YOUSEFZADEH (Director) is the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Engagement at Geva Theatre Center. She has directed and developed new work at The Public/Joe's Pub, New York Theatre Workshop, Atlantic Theater Company, Ars Nova, Soho Rep, New Georges, Partial Comfort Productions, Noor Theatre, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Cleveland Playhouse, Geva Theatre Center, Pioneer Theatre Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, InterAct Theatre Company, and Hangar Theatre, among others. Pirronne is a Usual Suspect at NYTW, New Georges Affiliated Artist, member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, Resident Director at Colt Coeur, a recipient of SDC's Denham Fellowship and Williamstown’s Sagal Fellowship, and an alumna of the 2050 Fellowship at NYTW, Drama League Directors Project, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, New Georges Jam, and Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. She has taught at NYU, UT Austin, and Rutgers University, and is a frequent guest director at Columbia, Juilliard, Fordham, and Yale School of Drama, among others. Pirronne is a founding member of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond. Upcoming productions: Sense and Sensibility (A.C.T.).  MFA, Columbia University. Member, SDC. She is represented by Ben Izzo at Abrams Artists Agency.;


SETH REISER (Scenic & Lighting Designer) is a lighting and set designer who works in theatre, opera, dance and music.  Recent work in western NY includes Lake Effectand Heartland both directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh, and The Magician’s Daughter Directed by Shelley Butler all at Geva. New York credits include Bernstein’s MASS with the NY Philharmonic directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer; Somebody’s Daughter Directed by May Adrales at Second Stage; Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Public Theater; The Mysteries at the Flea, directed by Ed Iskandar; Reggie Watts and Tommy Smith’s Radio Play at PS 122,directed by Kip Fagan; Taylor Mac’s Obie Award winning production of The Lily’s Revenge at HERE Arts. Regional credits include: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theatre Center, Two River Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, Trinity Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, Seattle Repertory, The Denver Center Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth, American Repertory Theatre, and Playmakers Repertory, among others. Mr. Reiser received his B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and his M.F.A. at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.


ROCIO MENDEZ (Movement Coordinator) is an actor/fight director/teacher from Hell's Kitchen, NYC. Fight Direction credits include: Marian, or The True Tale of Robin HoodHearts Like Fists (Flux Theater Ensemble); A Streetcar Named Desire (Princeton University); House of Desires, Marisol (The New School); Romeo and Juliet, Comedy of Errors (Maine Stage Theater). Film credits include Bad Writing, Clandestiny, Tied Up, Hurt Filling. Nominee for two New York Innovative Theater Arts Award - Outstanding Choreography and Movement, Winner for Artemis "Women In Action" Film Festival - Special Recognition Award.


SARAFINA BUSH (Costumes). LCT3: Plot Points, Pass Over. Other theater includes Grace, or The Art of Climbing (Art House Productions); The White Dress (Araca Project); One Flea Spare (Playhouse Creatures); This Time (Rising Circle); Good Men Wanted (Arena Stage); Couriers and Contrabands (Barrow Group); and Why You Beasting? (New York Rep), as well as associate and assistant costume design credits on and off Broadway. Education: BFA, Adelphi University.


CHRIS LANE (Sound Designer) is humbled to be making his Kitchen Theatre Company debut with The Royale. This DJ from Baltimore has transitioned his rhythms and mixes into the theatrical space. His Atlanta credits include: PIPELINE (Horizon Theatre, sound designer), Four Women and Skeleton Crew (True Color’s Theatre, sound designer/audio engineer), An Octoroon(Actor's Express, sound designer), The America Play (GSU-Theatre Arts Guild, sound designer), Aida (Atlanta Lyric Theatre, audio engineer). Regional: Four Little Girls (Alabama Shakespeare Festival, sound designer). In tandem with his freelance work as a designer, audio engineer and music producer, he is also a proud member of Alliance Theatre's teaching artist division and executive director of RUN Arts: created to defy the term “starving artist” with interactive, high quality arts and business education. He would like to thank his growing village in and around his new home of Atlanta.


MICHAEL HAYES (Scenic Assistant/Props) is a current junior at Ithaca College earning a BFA in Theater Production and Design. Recent/upcoming Ithaca College credits include scenic designer for Experiential Atonement (Dance Concert) and charge scenic artist for Marisol. Other credits include charge scenic artist for Fully Committed at The Peterborough Players; charge scenic artist for directing projects In a Word and 5x10: A Night of Short Plays at the Williamstown Theater Festival; and scenic art intern at the Williamstown Theater Festival. 


LISA DONADIO (Casting Director) is the Associate Casting Director at Playwrights Horizons. Credits include: Clybourne Park (Broadway and PH); The Flick (Barrow Street and PH); Bootycandy, The Qualms, Detroit, Circle Mirror Transformation, Stage Kiss, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, Rapture Blister Burn, and Present Laughter with Victor Garber for the Huntington Theatre Company and Roundabout. Other theaters include: Women's Project, Huntington Theatre Company, Seattle Rep, ACT in San Francisco, Berkeley Rep, Alley Theatre, Arena in DC.