Feature: Director Tyrone Phillips sheds light on real-life legend Jack Johnson in APT’s “The Royale”

Posted June 15, 2023

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By Isaac Trussoni, Madison365

An exciting new production will be playing for the upcoming summer at American Players Theatre (APT). The Royale is set to premiere this coming Friday, June 16, and run until September 27.

The Royale is about a successful Black boxer in the early 1900s, a time when segregation in every aspect of society was the norm. Director Tyrone Phillips will be bringing the production to the woods and recalled when APT Artistic Director Brenda DeVita came to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign while he was still in school for acting.

“I was in college and Brenda came in. It was a classical training program,” Phillips told Madison365. “You had people from Chicago, and we had about seven Black kids running Shakespeare. That’s a rarity, to have some companions while you’re going through that. Usually, you’re the only one.”

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