Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Corey Hawkins to Star in Broadway Play Topdog/Underdog


Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Corey Hawkins are set to star as brothers in the revival of Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Topdog/Underdog.

Acclaimed by the New York Times as “The Greatest American Play of the Past 25 Years,” the darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity, will return to Broadway this fall for a limited 16-week engagement.

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Directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon, Topdog/Underdog centers on brothers Lincoln (Hawkins) and Booth (Abdul-Mateen II) — names given to the duo as a joke by their father. When Lincoln comes to live with his younger brother after being thrown out by his wife, he’s working as a whiteface Abraham Lincoln impersonator, something he finds embarrassing but that serves as the duo’s only source of income until his job is suddenly threatened by a wax model replacement.

Meanwhile, Booth — who saved his half of an inheritance left by their parents after both deserted them as teens — aspires to his brother’s former glory as a Three-card Monte card shark while also attempting to woo a woman named Grace. With the specter of a rough upbringing hanging over them, each brother labors to achieve their individual aspirations of a better life, but their rivalry — along with poverty, racism, work and women — threatens their futures.

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Topdog/Underdog’s return to the stage also marks the 20th anniversary of its original Broadway run. The strictly limited 16-week engagement will begin previews on Tuesday, September 27th at the John Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street). The production will officially open on Thursday, October 20th.

David Stone, LaChanze, Rashad V. Chambers, Marc Platt, Debra Martin Chase, and the Shubert Organization are producing the revival of Topdog/Underdog. The revivial will feature scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes, and sound design by Justin Ellington. Casting is by Calleri Jensen Davis. Kamra Jacobs will be the Production Stage Manager.

Tickets for Topdog/Underdog will go on sale at Telecharge.com on June 20, Juneteenth National Independence Day.

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Parks is the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, an award she received in 2002 for Topdog/Underdog. In 2018, the play was named “The Greatest American Play of the Past 25 Years” by The New York Times. This unprecedented distinction was awarded unanimously by a special panel of critics convened to examine and rank the most important plays written and produced in the previous 25 years. In addition, when Ben Brantley retired as chief theatre critic for The New York Times, he called the play the best play he reviewed during his tenure.

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