The world premiere production of Rajiv Joseph’s new work “King James,” opened at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum on June 8 and continues through July 3. Tony® and Obie Award-winning director Kenny Leon directs this new play from the Pulitzer Prize-short lister which was co-commissioned by Center Theatre Group and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. 

Basketball great “King” LeBron James’ reign in Cleveland brings promise, prosperity and renewal to a city in desperate need of all three. His legacy brings together two friends who communicate best when they are talking and arguing about sports. 

“King James” is an intimate exploration of the place that sports and athletes occupy in our emotional lives and relationships. It explores the star player’s impact on Cleveland, from his rookie season to the city’s historic championship, and the lives of these two unlikely friends whose turbulent relationship is best navigated through their shared love of the sport in a verbal game of one-on-one. 

Though he is never seen in the show, James serves as a symbol for the hopes, desires and fears that these two characters have bottled up since childhood. 

The cast features Glenn Davis as Shawn and Chris Perfetti as Matt. “King James” is the new play from Cleveland native Rajiv Joseph. He has won the Obie Award for Best New American Play twice, in 2016 for “Guards at the Taj” (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and then in 2018 for “Describe the Night.”

Tickets for “King James” start at $30. They are available through CenterTheatreGroup.org, Audience Services at (213) 628-2772 or in person at the Center Theatre Group Box Offices (at the Ahmanson Theatre) at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A.

Performances run Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

For the time being, Center Theatre Group will continue to require masks, along with proof of full vaccination, and a government- or education-issued ID at all of our venues. Booster shots are strongly recommended. This is consistent with the commitments we have made with our artists, staff and audiences to ensure their safety.

Per the guidelines set by the CDC, “full vaccination” means that at least 14 days have passed since receiving the final dose of an FDA-authorized or WHO-listed COVID-19 vaccine. Unvaccinated guests, including children or those with a medical or religious reason, must provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken no more than 48 hours prior to attendance, or a negative rapid antigen test taken no more than 24 hours prior. All tests must be administered by a professional. At-home tests will not be accepted.

More information regarding safety updates as well as audience vaccination, testing and mask requirements is available at CenterTheatreGroup.org/Safety.

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