The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Masterpiece Returns to Broadway
For Its 20th Anniversary Production
YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II and COREY HAWKINS
Directed by Tony Award-winner
Strictly Limited Engagement on Broadway This Fall
“Suzan-Lori Parks is a remarkable playwright. She is an original whose fierce intelligence, and fearless approach to craft, subvert theatrical convention and produce a mature and inimitable art that is as exciting as it is fresh. I am standing with my hat in the air.”
– August Wilson
“A writer who crosses cultural boundaries, as well as social ones, she has had her work produced everywhere, from the smallest avant-garde stages to Broadway. Her voice is both idiosyncratic and eerily familiar, one of few in the popular theatre to fully exploit the power of spoken Black English.”- Hilton Als, The New Yorker
“TOPDOG/UNDERDOG is as exciting as any new play from a young American since Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Both a vivid, present-tense family portrait and an endlessly reverberating allegory, TOPDOG/UNDERDOG plies the fine theatrical art of deception to convey the dangers of role-playing in a society in which race is a performance and prison.”– Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“TOPDOG/UNDERDOG explores the multiple layers of sibling competition and intimacy -- all that love wrapped in hate wrapped in love. But the play is a more complicated and heartbreaking work. Its soul is nourished by the sad, shared loneliness and disappointment of this Black latter-day Booth and Lincoln, so named by their long-vanished father.”– Peter Marks, The Washington Post
“In TOPDOG/UNDERDOG history screams and bleeds in this work of Parks’ as intensely as ever.”– Alisa Solomon, The Village Voice
“TOPDOG/UNDERDOG is demandingly smart, dark and resonant – an intense examination of who’s up/who’s down tension, her fascination with questions of black/white, older brother/younger brother, freedom/slavery, and family myth past/reality present.”– Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
(New York, NY, June 14, 2022) – SUZAN-LORI PARKS’ Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, TOPDOG/UNDERDOG, will return to Broadway this Fall in a 20th Anniversary Production, directed by Tony Award-winner KENNY LEON and starring Tony Award-nominee COREY HAWKINS (In the Heights, The Tragedy of Macbeth) and Emmy Award-winner YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II (Watchmen, Candyman) as brothers Lincoln and Booth.
The strictly limited 16-week engagement will begin previews on Tuesday, September 27th at the John Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street). The production will officially open on Thursday, October 20th. Tickets will go on sale at Telecharge.com on Monday, June 20th, Juneteenth National Independence Day. The production is being produced by David Stone, LaChanze, Rashad V. Chambers, Marc Platt, Debra Martin Chase, and the Shubert Organization.
SUZAN-LORI PARKS’ TOPDOG/UNDERDOG, a darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity, tells the story of two brothers, Lincoln (Hawkins) and Booth (Abdul-Mateen II), names given to them as a joke by their father. Haunted by the past and their obsession with the street con game, three-card monte, the brothers come to learn the true nature of their history.
"I’m so blessed that TOPDOG is back on Broadway! What a beautiful opportunity to share this work with new audiences. And, wow, how many writers get to be here for a Broadway revival of their work? I’m grateful and thrilled,” said SUZAN-LORI PARKS. “And doing the show with Kenny, Yahya and Corey — that’s icing on the gravy, baby!”
SUZAN-LORI PARKS’ TOPDOG/UNDERDOG will feature scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes, and sound design by Justin Ellington. Casting is by Calleri Jensen Davis. Kamra Jacobs will be the Production Stage Manager.
SUZAN-LORI PARKS is the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, an award she received in 2002 for TOPDOG/UNDERDOG. In 2018, the play was named “The Greatest American Play of the Past 25 Years” by The New York Times. This unprecedented distinction was awarded unanimously by a special panel of critics convened to examine and rank the most important plays written and produced in the previous 25 years. In addition, when Ben Brantley retired as chief theatre critic for The New York Times, he called TOPDOG/UNDERDOG the best play he reviewed during his tenure.
ABOUT THE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM
A Tony Award nominee for his 2017 performance in John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, COREY HAWKINS made his Broadway debut as Tybalt in David Leveaux’s revival of Romeo and Juliet opposite Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad. Recently, Hawkins portrayed Macduff in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, opposite Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, and Brendan Gleeson, among others, for which he received the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also starred as Benny in Jon M. Chu’s feature film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, In The Heights. His breakout film performance was as hip-hop legend Dr. Dre in the 2015 film, Straight Outta Compton. Other film credits include Michael Bay’s 6 Underground, opposite Ryan Reynolds and Melanie Laurent; Christoph Waltz’s directorial debut, Georgetown, opposite Waltz, Annette Bening, and Vanessa Redgrave; as civil rights leader Stokley Carmichael in Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman; Kong: Skull Island opposite Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, and Samuel L. Jackson; Universal Pictures’ Non-Stop; Winter’s Tale for Warner Bros.; and Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3. On television, Hawkins starred as Eric Carter in FOX’s 24: Legacy opposite Miranda Otto and Jimmy Smits, as well as on the hit show The Walking Dead. Hawkins also starred in the Quibi series, Survive, opposite Sophie Turner, for which he earned a 2020 Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series. He will be seen as Harpo in the upcoming film adaptation of The Color Purple, produced by Quincy Jones, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey, and in the lead role in the film, Last Voyage of the Demeter. Hawkins is a graduate of The Juilliard School’s drama program and is a recipient of the prestigious John Houseman Prize, given to one Juilliard student that has demonstrated exceptional ability in classical theater.
YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II is well known for his Emmy Award-winning performance as Cal Abar/Dr. Manhattan in HBO’s groundbreaking series, Watchmen. He recently starred in Michael Bay‘s Ambulance, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal; in The Matrix Resurrections, led by original director/writer Lana Wachowski; and in the Jordan Peele-produced Candyman for MGM/Universal. Next up he will be reprising his role as Black Manta in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in theaters March 2023. In 2020 he co-starred amongst an all-star cast in Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7, in which he played Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale. Other film and television credits include Aquaman opposite Jason Momoa for DC Comics and Warner Bros.; First Match, based on an award-winning script by Olivia Newman (Audience Award at SXSW); the “Striking Vipers” episode of Black Mirror; Jordan Peele’s Us; The Greatest Showman opposite Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, and Zendaya for Twentieth Century Fox; Sony Pictures Classic’s Boundaries; The Handmaid’s Tale; Baywatch; Netflix’s All Day and a Night; Sweetness in the Belly opposite Dakota Fanning (2019 Toronto International Film Festival); and Baz Luhrmann’s television series for Netflix, The Get Down. Upcoming projects include Emergency Contact, which he is set to star in and executive produce, By All for Warner Bros, and The Scent of Burnt Flowers with Macro TV, created by Blitz Bazawule. Yahya recently launched his production company, House Eleven10. He has been honored by the Critics’ Choice Association’s Celebration of Black Cinema with the Breakthrough Award in Feb 2021, made the HuffPost’s 2020 Culture Shifters list, and in 2018, was one of a select group of actors to make the prestigious The Hollywood Reporter’s NextGen list. Born in New Orleans and raised in Oakland, California, Yahya is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, where he received the prestigious Herschel Williams Prize. Topdog/Underdog will be his Broadway debut.
Widely considered one of the most adventurous playwrights of her generation, SUZAN-LORI PARKS has received a MacArthur “Genius” Award, been declared a “Master Dramatist” by PEN America and received a Steinberg Award for Distinguished American Playwriting. In addition to winning The Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Topdog/Underdog, she has also been a Pulitzer Finalist two additional times for her plays In The Blood and Father Comes Home from the Wars. An accomplished screenwriter, she has collaborated with Spike Lee (Girl 6), Rashid Johnson (Native Son) and Oprah Winfrey (Their Eyes Were Watching God). In 2021, Suzan-Lori Parks saw the premiere of her film The United States vs. Billie Holiday (directed by Lee Daniels) and the premiere of her season of Genius: Aretha Franklin where she served as Writer and Show Runner. Named among Time Magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next Wave,” Suzan-Lori Parks’ other plays include: The Book of Grace; Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical; Venus (1996 OBIE Award); The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World; Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 OBIE Award, Best New American Play); The America Play; and Fucking A. Her adaptation of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Parks’ project 365 Days/365 Plays (where she wrote a play a day for an entire year) was produced in over 700 theaters worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theater history. Her latest work, Plays for the Plague Year, is currently in performance at The Public Theater.
KENNY LEON is a Tony Award winning director who also has been honored with The Actors Fund Medal of Honor, an Obie Award and an NAACP Image Award. Mr. Leon is also a proud honoree of the George Abbott Lifetime Achievement in directing for American Theatre. Broadway: A Soldier’s Play; American Son; Children of a Lesser God; Holler If Ya Hear Me; A Raisin in the Sun; The Mountaintop; Stick Fly; August Wilson’s Fences, Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf. Off-Broadway: The Underlying Chris, Everybody’s Ruby, Emergence-See! (The Public); Smart People (Second Stage). Television: Colin in Black & White; 4400; Amend: The Fight for America; American Son (adapted for Netflix); Hairspray Live!; The Wiz Live!; Steel Magnolias; Dynasty; In My Dreams. Author: Take You Wherever You Go. Artistic Director Emeritus, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company. Senior Resident Director: Roundabout Theatre Company.