Winner! Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award
A fictional, idealized life story of boxing champion Jack Johnson, here called Jack Jefferson. Acting as a lens focused on a racist society, The Great White Hope explores how segregation and prejudice created the demand for a "great white hope" who would defeat Johnson and how this, in turn, affected the boxer's life and career.
"A great part a tragic hero, cheated, degraded, and at last brutally beaten. Mr. Sackler has used his hero, a figure based on the first Black heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson (played by James Earl Jones), as a symbol in part of Black aspiration...Has an epic scope and range...It picks up the Johnson story soon after the Australian day in 1908 when Johnson whipped Tommy Burns and takes it to Havana in 1915, when Jess Willard, the Great White Hope, won it back for the Whites at least for a time." - The New York Times
"A highly theatrical and hugely rewarding evening." - Daily News
"Great theatre. Broadway at its very best." - Associated Press