September 24, 25 & 26 and October 1, 2 & 3
Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, TopDog/Underdog is a dark comic fable of brotherly love and family identity and a riff on the way we are defined by history. The play tells the story of Lincoln and Booth, two brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.
Actors’ Theatre is proud to have the Grand Rapids Community College’s Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center as sponsors of their production of TopDog/Underdog.
The cast of TopDog/Underdog includes Sammy A. Publes and Marcus Woodswelch. Marcus, having traveled south and west, now returns to Grand Rapids and the Actors’ Stage (having appeared in Angels in America, Violet and Our Country’s Good) for this production. Woodswelch has worked in film and television appearing in such films as Coach Carter and Half Past Dead. Publes also returns to our stage having appeared in Jesus Hopped the A-Train, Lady of The Camellias and Sideman. He received a Grand Award for Outstanding Actor for his work in Grand Rapids Jewish Theatre’s Chaim’s Love Song. Publes also works in film and television having appeared in the A&E television program The Beast and the feature film Gran Torino. He also was seen in Our Lady of 121st Street at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.
The production staff of TopDog/Underdog includes director Fred Sebulske, stage manager Malinda Petersen, set designer Christian Poquette, properties designer Leslie Kohn, lighting designer David Miller, sound designer Steve Taber and costumer Jessica Frymire.
Director Fred Sebulske says: “I have wanted to do this play ever since I read it the year Suzan Lori-Parks won the Pulitzer Prize, the first African-American woman to win that coveted award. She has written a funny, scary, lyrical and gritty piece that uses the relationship of two brothers to explore a story as old as Cain and Abel and as current as the plight of the African-American male finding his way in contemporary America. This play is theatre at its essence – immediate, raw, and exploring ideas which are as profound as possible.”
Tickets range from $22.00 for adults to $8.00 for student rush tickets an hour prior to performances. On Thursday performances, a second ticket is $10.00 with the purchase of the first ticket at full price. The box office number to reserve tickets is 616.234.3946 (box office opens on Monday, September 7, 2009 at noon for season ticket holders and on Monday, September 14, 2009 at noon for the general public.)
Actors’ Theatre is dedicated to bringing the best in entertaining, innovative, challenging and thought-provoking theatre to West Michigan. We believe in the inclusion of all.