Mike Tyson is always in the limelight.
He makes a cameo in "Scary Movie 5," the film spoof that opens Friday in theaters. Earlier in the week, he was in the news when he joined senators John McCain and Harry Reid (!!!!) in an effort to posthumously pardon the boxer Jack Johnson from a racially motivated conviction in 1913. And before that, Tyson’s wife, Lakiha "Kiki" Spicer, made headlines for suing an online stalker.
On Tuesday, the former world heavyweight champion will try to turn that limelight into a spotlight when he brings his one-man show, "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," from Broadway to Miami's Arsht Center.
We talked about that journey in a telephone Q&A:
How did this all start?
"My wife and I went to see Chazz Palminteri in [his autobiographical one-man-show] "A Bronx Tale." That was one of my favorite movies, too, so that's why we went. The show is so captivating ... You couldn't hear anybody even breathe. All you could hear was his voice. I said, 'Whoa, I want to do something like that.' We found a producer — or he found us — and we did it at the MGM Grand in Vegas and sold out every night. Then, [Spike] Lee called me and said we had to put this on Broadway. Believe me, we never expected Broadway."
Your wife, Kiki, wrote this script, right?
"I gave her the information, you know. I explained how this happened and how that happened, and she made it out to be sensational. She's written before, but never got anything published. TV shows, she's written for that. Now, people have a chance to see what she can do."
When Spike Lee came on as the director, did the show change drastically?
"Oh, yeah, there were major changes. When I first did it in Vegas, there was a rock band. I had a vocalist and a piano player. [Now], Spike made it so it's more of a gritty, emotional take ... I'm up there by myself. That's not something I thought I would do. Vegas, that was just me up onstage doing slapstick sort of stuff. It was good stuff for me. It was light, really light. Spike made it more gritty."
You've done a lot of acting recently, with appearances in "Law & Order: SVU," "The Hangover Part III" and "How I Met Your Mother." Would you like to be a serious actor?
"That is forefront on my mind. I want to be in that fraternity. I’m not doing this because I think I'm talented or to make some money. I'm not trying to be an actor because I think I'm going to get rich. I would do this for free. But I want to be in that sphere."
You've spent time in South Florida before. Do you have any favorite places to visit when you come back for this show?
"When I am doing the show, me and my family, we stay in the room and have some friends come by. I do a meet and greet, and then, I go back to the hotel. This is a professional-artist family, and we live our life that way. I try not to have any distractions. My distractions now are my wife and kids, my family."
So what do you think is the takeaway of the show?
"It's up to [the audience] to decide what their perception of it is. It's not up to me to say, 'This is what you go home with.' The show is overwhelmingly filled with diversity. When I see the people in the crowd, I get a high. They saw me at the low points of my life and the high points of my life. I'm just being very grateful and showing the gratefulness.”
So does the audience make you change the show some nights? Do you react to how they are reacting?
"Oh, yeah, I'm ad-libbing. It's different every night."
Do you get butterflies or the jitters? What are you like just before the show?
"On that night, I'm just like I was when I was fighting: focused, but relaxed and calm. [Being onstage] is just like fighting, in that you have to be explosive and prepared. I put myself in a mode of introspection. When I'm out there, I can hear the people breathing in the back row of the balcony."
"Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" will take place Tuesday, April 16, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., in Miami. Tickets cost from $35 to $75 (with VIP seats and a meet-and-greet photo opportunity costing $300 and Super VIP packages which include the premiuim seating, the meet-and-greet as well as an autographed boxing glove for $500). Call 305-949-6722 or go to ArshtCenter.org.Copyright © 2015, South Florida