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'Top Dog Underdog'

Dead Dog Underdog Poster
......the play's the thing

Lisa Simeone
Weekend All Things Considered host Lisa Simeone (l) with actor Don Cheadle (r) as recorded by NPR New York bureau engineer Manoli Wetherell (center). Photo by Walter Ray Watson
Jeffrey Wright
Actor, Jeffrey Wright plays Lincoln in Top Dog Underdog
Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle, Actor, Top Dog Underdog
"It was insane, it was bananas...but that's the reason to do it."
Suzan Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks, Playwright
Top Dog Underdog

Top Dog Underdog audio

July 8 2001 -- In the main hallway of the Public Theatre in New York City, a sign heralds the current season of productions, including a new play by Suzan-Lori Parks, Top Dog Underdog. The play, described as "a darkly comic fable," opens July 10.

Host Lisa Simeone of NPR's Weekend All Things Considered listens in on rehearsals with actors Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright.

Producer/Director George C. Wolfe is head of the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theatre in New York City. Though Wolfe directs Top Dog Underdog he is also a playwright. His credits include The Colored Museum, Jelly's Last Jam, and Bring On the Noise/Bring On the Funk. As a director, he's been in charge of The Wild Party, and Angels In America.

The play tells the story of two blood brothers named Lincoln and Booth, one a card shark and Abe Lincoln impersonator, the other, a student of the three-card-monty con game.

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks says about the inspiration for writing her latest play, "It chose me. I wasn't planning or plotting or scheming...."

Top Dog is Parks' fourth play produced at the Public Theatre.