Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth is the undisputed champ's first foray into live stage performance and, it turns out, it is funny, profane, moving and somewhat enlightening. People who see it expecting huge revelations or confessions of wrongdoing in, say, his tumultuous marriage to Robin Givens may be disappointed. But Tyson is nothing if not entertaining. He's got a great sense of humor and is pretty realistic about himself and his life.
For example, while disclaiming any guilt in the Indiana rape case which sent him to jail for three years, he does acknowledge that he did many things over the years for which he was not sent to jail but should have been. And his description of seeing Givens in his car with Brad Pitt is downright hilarious.
He talks about his childhood on the mean streets oF Brownsville, Brooklyn, about the doubtful identity of his father and his mother's alcoholism which, perhaps, may be attributable to her dashed dream of becoming a schoolteacher. She is, he says, the source of his "addiction gene." There's beens ome criticism that he blames everyone else - notably his mother and Givens - for his problems. I didn't find that to be true at all. He talks openly about his weaknesses, his problems and the resultant anger.
It's difficult not to sympathize with a man who cannot recall his mother ever telling him that she loves him and who didn't know who his father was. But Tyson pays great tribute to his trainer Cus D'Amato who pulled him off the streets, got him reading and thinking and turned him into a champ.
While he talks, two screens are there to show stills and videos of his subject matter. There's film of the legendary long count in Japan in 1990, when he lost to Buster Douglas and the 1997 Holyfield-Tyson fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. That's the fight during which Tyson bit Holyfield's ears.
Holyfield was in the audience Sunday night as, clearly, the two men are now friends.
Tyson also talked about his family, his pigeons, about Don King (not a favorite) and lots of other stuff.
Onstage with Tyson is a five-piece band and vocalist Sabrina Elayne Carten who sings a few inspirational songs - Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Waters Run Deep and Nature Boy the song used to introduce Tyson- as the story calls for them.
The script for Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth was written by Kiki Tyson, Mike's wife, and director Randy Johnson.
Producer Adam Steck said in an interview that he expected the audience to be made up of Tyson fight fans ("He's my generation's Ali."), fans of The Hangover movies and the curious. Steck seemed to be right, as the audience covered just about every demographic and many paid a premium to go backstage to meet The Champ after the show and get a photo taken.
Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth is an interesting event. There's a lot of detail about how Tyson got where he is today. He notes to great applause that he's been sober for three years and calls himself the "master of relapse" but, today, he's happy with family and with telling his story. And it's a good one.
Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth is at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre through Wednesday, April 18. The show will be touring around the US and the world in the coming months. Watch for it.