A Theatrical Highlight: Round House Theatre’s Revival of Topdog/Underdog Opens Tonight


Bethesda, Md. (June 3, 2024) – Round House Theatre concludes its 2023-2024 Season with the much-anticipated revival of the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play Topdog/Underdog. This celebrated American classic, written by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Jamil Jude, opens tonight, promising an unforgettable theatrical experience.

Topdog/Underdog delves into the tumultuous lives of brothers Lincoln and Booth, whose names, given as jokes by their father, foreshadow a lifetime of rivalry and struggle. Abandoned by their parents as teenagers, the brothers learn to depend on each other, only to find themselves ensnared in a relentless cycle of love and resentment. Parks’ gripping narrative explores themes of destiny, poverty, and racism, asking whether one can truly change the cards dealt by life.

The production has already garnered significant acclaim, being named the best American play written in the past 30 years by the New York Times and winning the 2023 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Artistic Director Ryan Rilette expressed his excitement, stating, “With the masterful storytelling of Suzan-Lori Parks, the brilliant direction of Jamil Jude, two of DC’s best actors, and a truly amazing team of designers, this revival is sure to be a theatrical highlight of 2024.”

The cast features Ro Boddie as Lincoln and Yao Dogbe as Booth. Boddie, known for his performances in The Mountaintop and August Wilson’s Radio Golf at Round House Theatre, brings a wealth of experience to the role. Dogbe, who has previously graced the Round House stage in Nollywood Dreams and Ohio State Murders, portrays Booth with compelling depth. The understudy for this production is Monuaze Mason.

The production’s creative team is equally impressive, with Scenic Designer Meghan Raham, Costume Designer Danielle Preston, Lighting Designer Xavier Pierce, and Sound Designer Nick Hernandez. Fight Choreographer Casey Kaleba, Properties Coordinator Chelsea Dean, Casting Director Sarah Cooney, Dramaturg Naysan Mojgani, Card Manipulation Consultant Ryan Phillips, and Production Stage Manager Che Wernsman complete the team.

Round House Theatre will host a special Black Out performance of Topdog/Underdog on Wednesday, June 19. This initiative aims to prioritize the needs of Black-identifying audience members, providing a supportive and celebratory environment. Tickets for the Black Out performance are priced at $25, available online with the code BLACKOUT or through the box office at 240.644.1100.

To support inclusivity, non-Black allies are encouraged to attend other performances during the show’s run from May 29 to June 23, 2024. Regular performances are scheduled Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Special performances include an audio-described show on June 8, an open-captioned show on June 15, and mask-required performances on June 18 and June 22.

Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has a distinguished career marked by numerous accolades, including the 2023 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Parks’ works include The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, White Noise, and 365 Days/365 Plays. Her extensive screenwriting credits include The United States vs. Billie Holiday and Genius: Aretha.

Director Jamil Jude, Artistic Director at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, is known for his socially relevant productions. With a career dedicated to advancing the work of emerging Black artists, Jude brings a rich perspective to this revival of Topdog/Underdog.

Tickets for Topdog/Underdog can be purchased by calling 240.644.1100, visiting RoundHouseTheatre.org, or stopping by the box office. Discounts are available, including free tickets for students through the Free Play initiative. Round House Theatre is located at 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, one block from Wisconsin Avenue and the Bethesda Metro station.

For more information on performances, tickets, and special initiatives like the Black Out performance, visit RoundHouseTheatre.org.