Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer-winning Topdog/Underdog returns to Broadway for its 20th anniversary beginning September 27 in a new production directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, in his Broadway debut, and Corey Hawkins. The 16-week limited engagement will officially open at the John Golden Theatre October 20.
“Now more than ever, I think it's important for people to wake up to the love,” says playwright Parks. “Topdog/Underdog is a call to that." Watch the video above for the full interview with the playwright, director, and co-stars.
Topdog/Underdog follows brothers Lincoln (Hawkins) and Booth (Abdul-Mateen II), named by their father as a joke. Haunted by the past and their obsession with three-card monte, the brothers come to learn the true nature of their history.
The work made its world premiere Off-Broadway at The Public Theater in 2001 with a production directed by George C. Wolfe and starring Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright. It transferred to Broadway the following year with Wright reprising his Off-Broadway performance opposite rap artist Mos Def. The production received two 2002 Tony nominations, including Best Play, and won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, making Parks the first Black woman to win the honor. The Broadway cast also brought the work to London's Royal Court Theatre in 2003.
Leon's creative team includes scenic designer Arnulfo Maldonado, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Allen Lee Hughes, and sound designer Justin Ellington. Casting is by Calleri Jensen Davis, and Kamra Jacobs will serve as production stage manager.