Monday, June 18, 2012
Mike Tyson, on Broadway
By Michael Woods
Mike Tyson, the man who once bit off a portion of his foe's ear during a fight, is doing a one-man show on Broadway, to be directed by Spike Lee.
Richard Nixon must be sitting straight up in his grave.
What does it say about this age that a man can go from walking tabloid headline to convicted sex offender to the toast of Broadway in a matter of a couple decades? Have we really made such strides in the area of forgiveness? (Nixon would certainly marvel at this development and wonder why he wasn't born later -- or hadn't lived longer -- so that he could've enjoyed a triumphant comeback tour).
Or have we reached a level of permissiveness that too easily allows rogues an indefinite period of atonement, a self-prescribed humility quarantine to reinvent themselves and fairly seamlessly enter into a lucrative redemption tour?
Not to be a hater -- I have rooted for Tyson since he burst on the scene as a wrecking ball of fury who also had a contemplative and humble side, which he trotted out right after he finished applying the finishing touches to another cerebrum-rattling KO -- but I do sometimes wonder what Desiree Washington, the woman Tyson was convicted of raping, thinks about this transformation.
Is it totally legit? Is a backslide inevitable? Has he served enough penance? Should he have to serve any at all?
I admit, I am looking forward to taking in a performance of "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" live on Broadway (July 31-Aug. 5) at the Longacre Theatre in NYC, and seeing if the most interesting athlete of his era will help me process and clarify my complicated and ever-shifting take on his fascinating life.