New play coming to Actors' Warehouse

Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:38 p.m.

Sibling rivalry is at the heart of "TopDog/Underdog," a Pulitzer Prize-winning play that explores the plight of two African-American brothers struggling to survive.


Bradley Small, right, as Lincoln, and Jonathan Alexander, as Booth, in the play. “Topdog/Underdog.” (Special to the Guardian)



* What: “Topdog/Underdog,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

* When: 8 p.m. Sept. 13-14 and Sept. 19-21 and 3 p.m. Sept. 15 and Sept. 22.

* Where: The Actors' Warehouse, 608 N. Main St.

* Tickets: $15 online at or at the door.

* Information: Call 352-301-5823.

But this is not a family show. There is profanity and adult content, both of which will not suitable for children under 16 years of age.

Directed by Shontae Khaleel White, "Topdog/Underdog," a 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner by Suzan-Lori Parks, an African-American playwright and screenwriter, will make its debut in Gainesville at The Actors' Warehouse at 608 N. Main St. Showtimes will be 8 p.m. Sept. 13-14 and Sept. 19-21 and 3 p.m. Sept. 15 and Sept. 22.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., White moved to Gainesville in 2007 to work as assistant director of student activity and involvement at the University of Florida. He has a bachelor's degree in theater and experience in both acting and directing.

White said "TopDog/Underdog" is a story about two brothers — Lincoln and Booth — who, after being abandoned by their parents at the age of 16 and 11, raised themselves on the streets by hustling to survive.

"This show really digs in the trenches of what some black men go through on a daily basis in this country," said White, adding that the play, which is set in a shabby apartment, uses wit and raw dialogue to tell the story of two fiercely competitive siblings embroiled in con artistry using the three card monte game.

Lincoln is an ex-card shark attempting to go straight by working as an Abraham Lincoln impersonator while his brother, Booth, a petty thief, dreams of becoming the slick con man Lincoln used to be.

The two-man cast features two Gainesville artists: Bradley Small as Lincoln and Jonathan Alexander as Booth.

Rhonda Wilson, founder of The Actors' Warehouse and artistic director of the Spirit of Soul Repertory Company and the Star Center Children's Theater, said sibling rivalry is at the center of "TopDog/Underdog" about the two young black men trying to make it with very little formal education and limited resources in today's world.

"It's such a great play and a Pulitzer Prize winner," Wilson said. "Once you get over the language and listen to the story, you will gain an appreciation for it."

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