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StageOne Family Theatre, Muhammad Ali Center, Kentucky Center To Host “Play It Forward: Champions Night” Gala

Event to Coincide with Muhammad Ali’s 73rd Birthday on January 17, 2015

  • 5 pm: Reception and Dinner at the Muhammad Ali Center, View Pointe Hall
  • 7:30 pm: WORLD PREMIER of “And In This Corner…Cassius Clay” by Idris Goodwin at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Bomhard Theater
  • Post-show Celebration Featuring Cast and Special Guests

On Saturday, January 17th, 2015, three organizations will come together to host “Play It Forward: Champions Night,” a gala fundraiser celebrating the World Premiere Production of “And In This Corner…Cassius Clay” and to celebrate the birthday and legacy of Muhammad Ali.

Commissioned by StageOne from playwright Idris Goodwin; the project was announced in August 2014 as part of StageOne’s New Play Development Series; and tells the boyhood story of young Cassius Clay growing up in deeply segregated 1950s Louisville. Working to inspire the next generation of young leaders, StageOne Family Theatre, the Muhammad Ali Center and The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts came together to build a dual-venue field trip opportunity for students grades four through twelve to experience his story on stage in the state-of the-art Bomhard Theater at The Kentucky Center and also tour the world-renowned Muhammad Ali Center.

Funds raised will be used to build a scholarship program for low-income schools to attend the dual field trip regardless of financial limitations. Through this collaboration, over 25,000 students will be a part of this project at little to no cost to them. Recognizing the tremendous impact this will have for students, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens and Director of Curriculum Suzanne Wright set a goal for EVERY middle school student in the JCPS system to have this experience, and are working with StageOne identify students in need.

“It is significant to the Ali Center, our partners, and the larger community, that this event is taking place on Muhammad Ali’s 73rd birthday,” said Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center. “The Champ is an inspiring figure to both young and old around the world, and having the opportunity to educate 25,000 local students about Muhammad’s youth, could have a positive and everlasting impact on their lives.”

The event will begin with drinks and dinner catered by Wiltshire Pantry at the Muhammad Ali Center, continuing with StageOne’s premiere performance of “And In This Corner…Cassius Clay” in the Bomhard Theater at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, culminating in a post-show celebration with the cast, playwright, and special guests. Tables of 8 are available for $1500 and include preferred seating at the show along with other benefits. Single tickets that include dinner, show, and reception are available for $150. Single tickets for the show and post-show reception will be available for $50.

Sponsors for the gala and production include: Hilliard Lyons, Yum! Brands Foundation, Stoll Keenan Ogden, Dinsmore and Shohl, The Glenview Trust Company, Stites and Harbison, Vintage Printing, and Ernst and Young. Media Sponsors Include Across The Board, Louisville Public Media, and Louisville Magazine.

To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit,, or order by phone at 502-498-2444.



The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international cultural center promotes the six core principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, gender equity, and global citizenship. Its newest initiative, Generation Ali, fosters a new generation of leaders to contribute positively to their communities and to change the world for the better. The Center’s headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please visit