Howard Sackler’s 1967 play The Great White Hope may soon be returning to the Great White Way. According to the New York Post, Common, the rapper formerly known as Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., headlined a recent industry reading of the show.
Common played boxer Jack Jefferson. The role was originated by James Earl Jones, who went onto win the Tony award and also garner an Oscar nod for his performance in the 1970 film adaptation of the play.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, inspired by the real-life African-American boxing champion Jack Johnson, looks at how racism created the demand for a “great white hope” that would defeat him. The play initially ran at Arena Stage, transferring to Broadway’s Alvin Theatre in 1968.