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Black Theatre Troupe, Childsplay Presents Play About Muhammad Ali's Early Life, Career

A makeshift memorial for Muhammad Ali
Tracy Greer/KJZZ
file | staff
A makeshift memorial for Muhammad Ali outside Honor Heath Scottsdale Osborne Medical Center in June 2016.

Muhammad Ali was and is one of the most famous people in the world.

He was renowned for his boxing prowess and many legendary fights, but it was his charismatic speaking and boastful poetry, that helped him connect with all ages and backgrounds.

Before he converted to Islam, though, Muhammad Ali was young Cassius Clay — growing up in the 1950s in Louisville, Kentucky in segregation.

Long after his boxing career had ended, Ali spent a lot of time here in the Valley as part of his treatment for Parkinson’s disease. He died in Scottsdale in 2016.

And now the Phoenix-based Black Theatre Troupe and Childsplay have teamed up to bring Ali’s early life and first forays into boxing to the stage in the production of "And In This Corner: Cassius Clay."

To talk about the upcoming performance, The Show spoke with Rapheal Hamilton, who plays the young Clay, and the director, Michael Jerome Johnson.

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Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.