Topdog/Underdog Fact Sheet
1) PULITZER PRIZE – SIGNIFICANCE AND ANNIVERSARY: Topdog/Underdog won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2002. Suzan-Lori Parks is the first African American woman to receive this award. This year is the 10th anniversary of that historic win and, to mark the event, Parks directed the play for the first time at Two River Theater Company in New Jersey. Starring two real life brothers, the production opened on September 14.
2) FIRST LOCAL PRODUCTION: This is first locally produced professional staging of Topdog/Underdog. The play previously received a limited commercial run in San Francisco in 2003 through Best of Broadway (now SHN) at the Curran Theatre. It was mounted by Seattle Rep.
3) PLAYWRIGHT SUZAN-LORI PARKS AT MTC: We previously produced staged readings of Suzan-Lori Parks’s 365 Days/365 Plays and In the Blood in 2007 as part of our New Works Series.
4) PARKS RECENTLY ON BROADWAY: Suzan-Lori Parks’s most recent work, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (a controversial adaptation of the classic opera developed by American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts), won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival and ran on Broadway through September 23.
5) TOPDOG’S FAMOUS CASTS: Starring Jeffrey Wright and Mos Def, Topdog/Underdog had an extended four month run on Broadway in 2002. Originally starring Wright and Don Cheadle, the play premiered off-Broadway on July 10, 2001, at the Public Theatre.
6) ABOUT DIRECTOR TIMOTHY DOUGLAS: This is director Timothy Douglas’s MTC debut. He has directed nationally and internationally, including local productions at Berkeley Rep, Magic Theatre and A.C.T. Conservatory. He is possibly best known for directing the world premiere of August Wilson’s Radio Golf at Yale Rep.
7) ABOUT ACTOR BIKO-EISEN MARTIN: Topdog/Underdog also features the MTC debut of New York-based actor Biko Eisen-Martin. A native of San Francisco, he went to the Branson School in Ross (Marin County), is a former Youth Speaks Bay Area spoken word artist and educator and also previously taught at Berkeley High School. His first Bay Area appearance since 2009, this marks his first production in the region as a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
8) TOPDOG IN CALIFORNIA HIGH SCHOOLS: Topdog/Underdog is on the California Department of Education Recommended Literature List for grades 9-12.