Monday, December 3, 2012

Mike Tyson brings his one-man show to Clearwater next spring

"I was just so out of control. I didn't know how out of control I was until I got out of prison!" Tyson told reporters on Monday.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 5:46 PM

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Early next year, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson plans to take his one-man theater show on the road, and that includes a visit to Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall in April.

"Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" is described as an autobiographical monologue performed by the former champ in which he reflects upon his tough childhood in Brooklyn, the absence of his father, and his self-described "reckless and destructive" behavior. It premiered in Las Vegas in April and had a run on Broadway. Now it's coming to a host of U.S. cities, with its first-stop in Indianapolis, the site where he spent three years in jail after being convicted for rape in 1992.

"It's not like these people aren't aware of these issues," he said on a national conference call set up on Monday afternoon to promote the upcoming shows, which begin in mid-February. "They've seen them in the press, and they just don't know the underlying factor of the issue that I'm expressing."

Tyson, 46, has had a tumultuous career in the public spotlight, but it seems to have taken a more positive and lighter touch since his performance in the 2009 U.S. comedy smash The Hangover, where he played himself.

"I am an interesting guy," he said when asked what he's learned about himself after all this time in the national spotlight. "Some of this stuff does really hurt, and some of the stuff that hurts the most, the crowd really laughs at, and it takes me back, and I don't know how to deal with that. I go through the show and I say, 'they think that's funny?' That's a turning point in my life that destroyed me, and that's funny to you? I don't know," he added, sounding whimsical, not angry.

In October, Tyson traveled to Australia to perform his show, but he was not allowed into to its nearby neighbor of New Zealand because of his rape conviction.

Tyson said it was hard to perform in the land Down Under because the crowd was so enthusiastic simply when he walked around on stage night. He said the "doubt and the fear" that he felt entering the boxing ring is similar to the feeling he gets when he walks on the stage.

"Not succeeding is there. The only thing that's different is that I don' t have to go the hospital afterwards," he said.

Strange things sometimes happen when Tyson is on stage. In Australia, a fan sitting in a balcony seat tried to climb onto the stage and fell down. On Broadway, an attendee in the audience began shouting at him, before being arrested. Before that he said he had received a death threat

When asked by USA Today's Jon Saraceno if he ever thought he would make it to 46, Tyson said he never thought he'd make it to 25.

"It was just a blessing that I went to prison that time because I was just crazy ... I was just so out of control. I didn't know how out of control I was until I got out of prison!," he said.

The show has been directed by Spike Lee, who Tyson praised effusively on the call.

As part of his career transformation, last month Tyson launched the Mike Tyson Cares Foundation. Its mission is to "give kids a fighting chance" by providing centers that provide comprehensive needs of kids from broken homes.

"Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" comes to Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall on Wednesday, April 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on the performing arts center's website.

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