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Ron Scott Stevens Hits Off Broadway

BY Robert Ecksel ON August 17, 2006
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New York State’s boxing tsar breaks a leg on Sept. 7

“O Commissioner, Commissioner! Wherefore art thou Commissioner?�
From Commissioner and Juliet (II, ii, 33)

Shakespeare, Ibsen, Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller… and Ron Scott Stevens?

The fact that the Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission Ron Scott Stevens was just reappointed to another three-year term by Governor George Pataki tells you all you need to know about the job he’s doing. He took a moribund commission on autopilot or worse and pumped some serious life into the local scene. Stevens didn’t clear all the dead wood hereabouts – he’s a boxing guy, not Paul Bunyan – but things are healthier than they’ve been in awhile. The club shows may not be thriving, certainly not like the old days, but thanks to Lou DiBella and his superb venue on 34th Street there’s fairly regular action on that front, and big fights come to Madison Square Garden, both the big and small halls, with a regularity undreamed of a few years ago.

Those familiar with Stevens’ 30 years in the biz, where he has literally done it all – boxing writer/editor, ring announcer, publicist, matchmaker, promoter – also know that he’s been a not-so-closeted playwright. He has written several plays, the most significant of which was his 1985 boxing drama, “Lippe,� which starred William Hickey, an old school New York acting coach best known, if known at all, as the geriatric mob boss in John Huston s “Prizzi’s Honor,� the film where Jack Nicholson portrayed a love-besotted Brooklyn hitman opposite pistol-packing Kathleen Turner.

And now Ron Scott Stevens, while not neglecting his day job, has returned to one of his lifelong loves. On September 7, 2006, his most recent play, “Cherry’s Patch,� will premiere at the Soho Playhouse, located at 15 Vandam Street, in New York City, and will run through September 17 in a limited engagement.

“Cherry’s Patch� tells the story of a Fire Captain and his crew in a Brooklyn Heights engine company in the nine months leading up to the 9/11 attack. His untimely death caused by a cowardly lieutenant compels the firefighters to mete out justice, not according to the law, but according to the old-fashioned way, by doing it themselves.

Although the tale is fictional, the play is steeped in the events that shook New York City, and have subsequently shaken the world.

“Boxing is theatre in its purest form,� Stevens said. “The ring approximates the stage and the audience can become captivated as the events evolve until they reach their conclusion.�

According to the NY Times, Stevens described himself as “a dramatist by nature because I see things in those terms,� and described the writing of “Cherry’s Patch� as “a calling. It just felt right: the creation of a story with a dramatic structure that can just penetrate you.�

Tickets for Ron Scott Stevens' “Cherry’s Patch� are priced at $25 and $50, and are available by calling 212-691-1555, or at www.sohoplayhouse.com. Read more at the BLOG

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