ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Metro Theater Company brings the story of Cassius Clay to the stage next month.
The 24-year-old Chicago-born actor tapped to play the young man on his way to becoming Muhammad Ali says it was meant to be.
“In college, I always had a poster of Ali on my wall. I mean all four years I had a poster. So, it’s awesome that I get to play him in a production,” Trigney Morgan says.
The play, “And In This Corner….Cassius Clay,” tells the true story of Muhammad Ali’s early life growing up in Jim Crow-segregation in Louisville, Kentucky. It also highlights the path that led Clay to take up boxing in the first place.
Morgan says he learned that as a kid, Clay’s bike was stolen, and as he was looking for it, crying and upset, he met a white police officer named Joe Martin who asked him what he was going to do – was he going to beat somebody up?
“And he was like ‘yeah, I wanna beat somebody up.’ That’s when officer Martin told him ‘you should probably come down to the gym first and learn.’ And that’s how he got his start.”
Morgan says he and the other actors are rehearsing six days a week to get ready for the play. He has also taken boxing lessons.
“I felt like I was in pretty good shape, but I had to get in even better shape to play this role,” he says. “And I had never boxed before, but the fight choreographer Drew Facher has really taught me some great moves.”
KMOX’s Carol Daniel interviewed Morgan the same day the Oscar nominations came out, asking him how he felt about going into an industry given the ongoing debate about the lack of minority roles.
“I haven’t really thought about it. I just plan to do my very best and work really hard,” Morgan said.
Morgan acted in his first production while in high school at 16.
The play “And In This Corner, Cassius Clay” has only been performed in Louisville, Kentucky, where Clay grew up. It was written by Idris Goodwin, and will be performed at the Missouri History Museum Feb. 12 through the 28.
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