TopDog Productions in a co-production with the Elephant Theatre Company are thrilled to announce the Los Angeles Intimate Theatre Premiere of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Topdog/Underdog, written by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Marty Papazian. Topdog/Underdog will begin previews Wednesday, August 4, 2010 and will open on Friday, August 6 and run through Sunday, September 12 at the Lillian Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.
Topdog/Underdog, a darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity, tells the story of two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, 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 as they cope with women, work, poverty, gambling, racism, and their troubled upbringings.
After a successful run off-Broadway in 2001 starring acclaimed actors Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright, Topdog/Underdog had an extended run on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre and, in 2002, Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It also garnered Tony Award wins and nominations.
Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks was named one of TIME magazine's "100 Innovators for the Next New Wave," Suzan-Lori Parks is one of the most exciting and acclaimed playwrights in American drama today. She is the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for the Broadway hit Topdog/Underdog and is a MacArthur "Genius" Award recipient. She has also been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is recipient of a Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Award, a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts (Drama) for 1996, a Guggenheim Foundation Grant and and is an alumnae of New Dramatists. Her work is the subject of the PBS Film "The Topdog Diaries." Suzan-Lori Parks' talks are part performance, part storytelling – always high energy, with an inspired sense of humor.
In 2007 her project 365 Plays/365 Days was produced in over 700 theaters worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theater history. Her numerous plays include Topdog/Underdog, In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Venus (1996 OBIE Award), The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Fucking A, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 OBIE Award for Best New American Play), and The America Play. Her first feature-length screenplay was "Girl 6" written for Spike Lee. She's also written screenplays for Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, and adapted Zora Neale Hurston's classic novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God" which starred Halle Barry and premiered on ABC's Oprah Winfrey Presents. Parks is co-author of the screenplay for "The Great Debaters," starring Denzel Washington (December 2007 release). Park's well-reviewed first novel "Getting Mother's Body" (Random House, 2003) is set in the west Texas of her youth and follows the scrappy Beede family as they embark on a riotous road trip in hopes of recovering a fortune of jewels – rumored to be buried with a long-dead relative. She is the author of Ray Charles Live!, a musical based on the life of Ray Charles that premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse. In 2008, Parks was named the "Writer in Residence" at New York's Public Theater, a position she will hold for three years, actively participating in the artistic community of the Public Theater.
In November 2008 Suzan-Lori Parks became the first recipient of the master writer chair at the Public Theater, a three-year residency in which she will also be a visiting arts professor in dramatic writing at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. The Public Theater will presented her new play, titled, "Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 8 & 9)" in June 2009. Ms. Parks will also starred in this world premiere. Her play The Book of Grace premiered during the 2009-10 season at the Public.
Holding honorary doctorates from Brown University, among others, Suzan-Lori credits her writing teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, for starting her on the path of playwrighting. One of the first to recognize Parks' writing skills, Mr. Baldwin declared Parks "an astonishing and beautiful creature who may become one of the most valuable artists of our time."
For more information, visit www.topdogunderdog.com.