Two River Theater Company launches its 2012-2013 Season with Topdog/Underdog, written and directed by Suzan-Lori Parks
. Performances continue in Two River's Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue through Sunday, September 30. Get a first look at the cast onstage in the photos below!
Topdog/Underdog is one of the most powerful dramas in the American theater. Acclaimed for its taut theatricality and surprising humor, the play tells the story of two brothers, Lincoln and Booth-names given to them as a joke by their father. This production will star real-life brothersBrandon J. Dirden
's Jitney at Two River, Broadway's Clybourne Park and Enron) as Lincoln, andJason Dirden
(the 2010 Broadway revival of August Wilson
's Fences) as Booth.
Each day, Lincoln puts on a top hat and a fake beard and goes to work in a seedy arcade, where tourists come for the chance to shoot Honest Abe. Booth is obsessed with a street con game, three-card monte. Striving for a better life, bound by their love for each other, they are haunted by their own pasts-and our country's history. Topdog/Underdog contains adult language and content and is recommended for mature audiences.Suzan-Lori Parks
won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Topdog/Underdog, becoming the first African-American woman to do so. Her work is the subject of the PBS film The Topdog Diaries. Her plays include The Book of Grace, Fucking A, In the Blood (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Venus (Obie Award), and The America Play. She adapted the book of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. In 2007, her project 365 Days/365 Plays was produced in more than 700 theaters worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theater history. A student of James Baldwin
, with whom she credits the launch of her interest in playwriting, Parks is a MacArthur "Genius" Award recipient. She teaches at NYU, and is currently performing her experimental solo show, Watch Me Work, atThe Public Theater
, where she serves as Master Writer Chair.
The creative team for Topdog/Underdog includes Tony Award-winning scenic and lighting designer Christopher Akerlind
; Tony-nominated costume designer E Sosa, the runner-up on the 2010 season of Project Runway; sound designer Brendan Connelly; and fight director Thomas Schall
. The casting is by Heidi Griffiths
and the stage manager is Amanda Michaels
TWO RIVER THEATER COMPANY, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias
and Managing Director Michael Hurst
, is dedicated to producing great classics from the American and world stage, creating new plays and musicals for the American theater, and serving its diverse and multigenerational community through unique partnerships and education programs. Founded in 1994 by Joan and Dr. Robert M. Rechnitz, the theater supports the most exceptional and adventurous artists in the American theater and provides opportunities for its audiences to be part of the creative process. Two River Theater is a member of the League of Resident Theaters (LORT), Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and ArtPride New Jersey, and has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.