Sports history was made here in Miami on Feb. 25, 1964, when Cassius Clay — who would soon be known as Muhammad Ali — became heavyweight champion of the boxing world. A new play examines what went on that night after the final bell rang.
Muhammad Ali: “I’m so great, I don’t have a mark on my face, and I upset Sonny Liston, and I just turned 22 years old. I must be the greatest.”
“One Night in Miami”, a play at the Colony Theater in South Beach, is based on a real meeting between Cassius Clay and some famous friends, after he wins the heavyweight championship in Miami Beach. Those friends include legendary singer Sam Cooke.
Leon Thomas: “It’s an amazing night with four friends who all happen to be icons at the time. You have Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and the amazing Cassius Clay.”
The play is an imagining of what these four influential men might have talked about out of the public eye.
Kieron J. Anthony: “They get real. You know, the conversations get really deep. The conversations get, not attacking, but calling your brother out on things that you may not agree on, things that you may see happening outside, so it’s a full story about that.”
Getting lost in these historic characters is easy to do.
Kieron J. Anthony: “We have a ball on this stage, you know. Again, it’s like we’re just kicking it with our boys.”
Playing Sam Cooke gives musician Leon Thomas III a chance to show off his vocal and guitar chops on Cooke’s most famous song.
Leon Thomas III (singing as Sam Cooke): “And I know a change gonna come.”
You might know Leon from his time as Andre Harris on the Nickelodeon show “Victorious.”
Leon Thomas III (as Andre Harris): “All that I can do is give the song to you.”
Thomas is a songwriter and Grammy-winning producer. He’s worked on lots of stuff with his pal Ariana Grande.
Leon gave Deco an update on how Ariana’s doing these days.
Leon Thomas III: “She’s good. I mean, she’s solid. She’s all about healing. She’s had a tough last four years, and everybody heals differently, but I love the way she’s been going about the whole thing.”
You can catch Leon Thomas III and Kieron J. Anthony in “One Night in Miami” at the Colony Theater through Nov. 18. For more information, click here.
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