UT presenting encore production of acclaimed playWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Toledo’s Department of Theatre and Film is going back for seconds with the return of acclaimed playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize winning drama Topdog/Underdog.
On January 5 and 6 they will being hosting encore performances in the College of Performing Arts’ Studio Theatre with all proceeds going toward taking the production on the road. Director Sylvia Carter’s cast and crew were recently selected to appear at the Region III. 40th Annual Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which will be held in mid-January.
The play, which features actors Tyree Troutman and Danny Ledsinger, first made its way to UT’s stage back in October. Troutman is currently a senior, while Ledsinger graduated with a communications degree in 2006. Troutman previously appeared in director Cornel Gabara’s production of Sam Shepard’s Action, while Ledsinger was in UT’s production of Bill Lancz’ The Jewelry Store.
“I first saw the show in Chicago a number of years ago and when the University approached me about bringing it to Toledo I knew it was something that I really wanted to direct,” Carter said.
Parks’ intimate tale of sibling rivalry first ran off Broadway in 2001, with the leads being played by Hollywood Actors Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright. True to its name, the play started off as an underdog with poor ticket sales. It later received an extended Broadway run in which Cheadle was replaced by Mos Def.
Parks, who has written a number of other plays, is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and is recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. She has also worked as a screenwriter, most recently doing uncredited work on producer Oprah Winfrey’s “The Great Debaters” starring Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. She also wrote 2005 television adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.
The response to UT’s first run of the play was excellent, generating a string of sold out shows and highly positive feedback. According to Carter, the largest challenge was the size of the cast.
“This play is really a conversation piece—it’s all on the actors shoulders to keep things interesting and they do a wonderful job with the material”.
Both shows will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 and $5 for students. They may be purchased by calling (419) 530-2375.
For more information visit www.utoledo.edu.