Review: APT’s ‘The Royale,’ a star turn for Jamal James, pulls no punches

Posted June 26, 2023

ROY Cap Times Review

By Lindsay Christians, The Capital Times

Wisconsin theatergoers who know Jamal James may think of him as a romantic lead, a skilled comic actor, often a blend of both.

James made his American Players Theatre debut as a socially awkward would-be fiancé in “She Stoops to Conquer.” He’s been an anxious suitor in “Sense and Sensibility” and a bumbling lover in “Love’s Labours Lost.” James tends to be cast as the shy, funny one who will definitely get the girl by play’s end.

“The Royale,” in the Touchstone at American Players Theatre through Sept. 27, reveals a side of James we’d yet to see. Under the direction of Tyrone Phillips, James stars as a fictionalized version of the heavyweight champion boxer Jack Johnson.

“The Royale” is a riveting play, 90 minutes of rhythm, tension and grit. It’s an exceptional production, and James gives a career-defining performance in it, deep in the Wisconsin woods.

Read the full review here.