CultureShift: Last chance to catch Pulitzer-winning show at Detroit Repertory Theatre

“Topdog/Underdog” was written by Suzan-Lori Parks, the first Black woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

"Topdog/Underdog" runs through Dec. 17 at the Detroit Repertory Theatre.

"Topdog/Underdog" runs through Dec. 17 at the Detroit Repertory Theatre.

The Detroit Repertory Theatre kicked off its 67th season with the Pulitzer Prize winning show, “Topdog/Underdog,” running through this Sunday, Dec. 17.

The show, written by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Yolanda Jack, follows the dark relationship of brothers Lincoln (Will Bryson) and Booth (Will Street) over the period of a week. Their names were chosen by their father as his idea of a joke. Booth dreams of hitting the big time as a Three-Card Monte hustler, a preoccupation in which Lincoln once excelled. Meanwhile, Lincoln works at an arcade as a whiteface Abraham Lincoln impersonator. Together, they struggle with work, women, and abandonment, while dreaming of a better life.

Parks is the first Black woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. She says the play is a cautionary tale for what’s going on today, in terms of how we accept brutality and violence in our every day life.

“This is a part of how life was for these two men, but it doesn’t have to be,” she said. “We need to be watching and making sure that our daughters and sons don’t end up like this…we need to make sure that there’s safeguards around our children.”

Will Street, who plays Booth, says being a part of the cast has been extremely rewarding, adding that performing at the Detroit Repertory Theatre is and experience like no other.

“As a Black performer, any actor knows performing at the Detroit Rep, some shows is going to be like you’re in church,” he said. “Every three seconds somebody is like having a fit.”

The Detroit Repertory Theatre is offering a 10% discount on tickets with the promo code WDET. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Listen: Suzan-Lori Parks and Will Street speak with WDET about “Topdog/Underdog”

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  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.