Stage Door News

Toronto: Canadian Stage announces casting for season opener “Topdog/Underdog”

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Kicking off a sweeping and ambitious 23.24 season this fall, Canadian Stage is pleased to unveil casting and production details for their Berkeley Street Theatre season opener, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize-winning TOPDOG/UNDERDOG, on stage at the Berkeley from September 22 – October 8. 

Directed by Tawiah M’Carthy who, in the 22.23 season, directed Canadian Stage’s hit production of FAIRVIEW as well as co-creating and co-starring in MAANOMAA, MY BROTHER, this revival production of TOPDOG/UNDERDOG will feature performances by acclaimed talents Mazin Elsadig (PASSOVER, THE BROTHERS SIZE) as Booth and Sébastien Heins (NO SAVE POINTS, TROJAN GIRLS) as Lincoln.

A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and sibling rivalry, in TOPDOG/UNDERDOG Lincoln and Booth are brothers haunted by their past – as well as their names. When Lincoln gets a gig impersonating his namesake, Booth takes over his brother’s old racket as a three-card monte dealer. A tangle of secrets, lies, and one-upmanship, where the stakes get higher and higher, and someone’s bound to end up on top – TOPDOG/UNDERDOG was selected as the Best American Play of the Last 25 Years by the New York Times in a 2018 column.

TOPDOG/UNDERDOG is a masterful, electrifying piece of theatre that has re-emerged into our cultural imagination following last year’s Tony-winning revival,” says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “With just two characters, Suzan-Lori Parks creates a tense and fast-paced drama rife with layered meaning, that comments on race in America, competition between brothers, the weight of history and the cycle of violence. Tawiah did spectacular work with us last season, including on the Dora nominated MAANOMAA, MY BROTHER which we were so pleased to co-produce. We are thrilled to have him back for this production.”

Suzan-Lori Parks, widely considered one of the most ground-breaking and acclaimed playwrights of her generation, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for TOPDOG/UNDERDOG and was the first African American woman to win the award. Parks was also a finalist for the Pulitzer for Drama for her 2014 play FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS (pts 1, 2, 3.) In college, she studied under James Baldwin who first encouraged her to become a playwright. This year, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

TOPDOG/UNDERDOG was first produced off-Broadway in 2001 at the Public Theatre, then opening on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre in 2002. The show received an acclaimed 20th anniversary revival in 2022, winning the 2023 Tony Award for Best Revival.

Joining the creative team for this production are set designer Rachel Forbes, lighting designer Jareth Li, and sound designer Stephen Surlin.

Tickets for TOPDOG/UNDERDOG range from $29-$99. Single tickets are now available at This production runs from September 22 – October 8, 2023, with performances at 8:00pm Tuesday – Saturday, and 2:00pm matinees on Saturdays.

For more information and tickets visit