HOME > Season Archives > 2009 - 2010 > Topdog/Underdog



Directed by Nadine George-Graves

@ The Arthur Wagner Theatre

November 9 - 14

About the Play

About the Playwright

Topdog/Underdog is the 2002 Pulitzer Prize winning play about two African American brothers, named Lincoln and Booth as a “joke” by their father, coping with women, work, poverty, gambling, racism, and their troubled upbringings. Using three-card monte as a metaphor, this play is ultimately about the Great American Con. Our production furthers UC San Diego’s conversation during the yearlong Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Celebrations.


Suzan-Lori Parks is a playwright who does not shy away from hard-hitting issues. Her plays make us uncomfortable. Her plays force us to think. Her plays make us hear language differently. Her plays are acid jazz or jazz on acid. Her plays are dangerous in the wrong hands.


About the Director

Nadine George-Graves (PhD, Northwestern). Nadine's work is situated at the intersection of African American studies, feminist studies, theatre history, and dance history. She is the author of The Royalty of Negro Vaudeville: The Whitman Sisters and the Negotiation of Race, Gender, and Class in African American Theater, 1900-1940 (New York: St. Martinís, 2000) and is already well into her second book, Urban Bush Women and Postmodern Black Performance. In addition to her impressive scholarship, Nadine has written four plays and a screenplay. She also has extensive experience and training as an actor, director, dancer, and choreographer.


Director's Vision

Director’s Vision: As I enter this rehearsal process I’m most excited about the opportunity to work on an intimate play between two black men. Think about how many plays fit that bill. I’m going in with no preconceived notions of what this brotherly relationship is or should be -- I ask you to do the same. Can we really get inside their heads? Or is it all just a con game?

Director’s Anticipated Challenges: This will be a difficult play for audiences. We will all be challenged to confront many demons. When the preeminent African American Harvard professor can’t enter his own home without being arrested what hope have Lincoln and Booth?


The Cast

The Creative Team

Booth — Johnny Gill
Lincoln — Bowman Wright
Director - Nadine George-Graves
Production Stage Manager – Cate O’Brien
Scenic Designer – Christine Crook
Costume Designer – Christine Crook
Lighting Designer – Sarah Cogan
Sound Designer – David Corsello
Dramaturg — Jade Power
Asst Stage Manager - Leighann Enos
Asst Scenic Designer - TBA
Asst Costume Designer - TBA
Asst Lighting Designer - Wen-Ling Liao



Mon, Nov. 9, 7:00 pm   PREVIEW
Tue, Nov. 10, 8:00 pm   OPENING
Thu, Nov. 12, 8:00 pm    
Fri, Nov. 13, 8:00 pm    
Sat, Nov. 14, 2:00 pm   MATINEE
Sat, Nov. 14, 8:00 pm   CLOSING

Located at: The Arthur Wagner Theatre

Parking Passes Required: Monday through Friday. Weeknight passes are $2 per vehicle from the vending machines located in the UC San Diego Theatre District/La Jolla Playhouse parking lots and entry display case. Please remember your parking space number. You will need it to purchase your parking pass.

Note: Machines take all major credit cards except Discover and when paying with cash you must use exact change, NO CHANGE GIVEN.

Parking Passes Not Required: Saturdays and Sundays


Cars without permits are subject to ticketing by UCSD Campus Police. The Theatre & Dance Department does not have the authority to waive and cannot pay parking tickets.



Advance tickets for this production are available Monday-Friday, noon to 6 pm by calling the Box Office at 858.534.4574 or in person at the Theatre District’s Central Box Office at the Sheila & Hughes Potiker Theatre. 

At-the-Door tickets, if available, can be purchased one hour before show time at the performing theatre’s box office at the The Arthur Wagner Theatre (Galbraith Hall).

General Admission


UCSD Faculty/Staff/Alumni
Association, and Seniors (over 62)


UCSD Students (with ID)


*Preview performance on Monday, November 9th at 7:00 pm is offered at the reduced ticket prices of $15/$10/$8.


Production Photos

Photos by Jim Carmody

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UC San Diego 9500 Gilman Dr. MC0344, La Jolla, CA 92093
Tel: (858) 534-3791   Fax: (858) 534-1080