Avant Bard theatre announces that veteran screen actor Khalil Kain will star with award-winning stage actor Louis E. Davis in Suzan-Lori Parks’s acclaimed Topdog/Underdog, led by award-winning director and Broadway performer DeMone Seraphin. The play—a tensely funny and dead serious tragicomedy about two African American brothers-in-struggle—won Parks the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for drama, and the New York Times named it the best American play of the last 25 years.
Khalil Kain (playing the older brother, Lincoln) is known for his role as Raheem in the urban classic film Juice and as Darnell Wilkes for six seasons on the UPN/CW TV sitcom Girlfriends. He also appeared as Tiger Woods in Showtime’s The Tiger Woods Story and as Bill in the movie of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls… His stage work includes the role of Citizen Barlow in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at Seattle Rep and Xavier in the recent successful run of Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline at Pittsburgh’s City Theatre Company.
Louis E. Davis (playing the younger brother, Booth) was a member of the Helen Hayes Award-winning ensemble in the Theater Alliance production of Marc Mamuthi Joseph’s hip-hop choreopoem Word Becomes Flesh. His other credits include Solas Nua’s The Frederick Douglass Project, Taffety Punk’s Don Juan, Avant Bard’s King Lear, Imagination Stage’s The Freshest Snow Whyte, Mosaic Theater Company’s Charm, and Folger Theatre’s The Second Shepherds’ Play. He is currently appearing in Constellation Theatre’s The Master and Margarita.
DeMone Seraphin (Director) is founding artistic director of The New American Theatre Co. in New York City and is excited to return to Avant Bard after appearing as Singer Oedipus in its hit production of The Gospel at Colonus (2017). Selected directing credits include The Exonerated, Dutchman, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Jitney, Split Second, Endangered Species (world premiere), The Mountaintop, Runaways, Winter’s Tale, and Barnum. He acted with Khalil Kain in the Off-Broadway revival of The Great MacDaddy and directed him in The American Theatre of Harlem’s reading of Closer. DeMone is the recipient of a regional Emmy Award and the Joseph Jefferson Award.
“Topdog/Underdog is an incredible play and it’s massive,” said DeMone. “It’s an intimate two-hander, but the themes and the ideas in the play and the relationships between the two brothers in the play are enormous. At the center of this story are two black men who were left to fend for themselves. They had to learn to survive by any means necessary. I am eager to get into rehearsal with these two amazing actors, Khalil and Louis, and grapple with the powerful story that Suzan-Lori has told.”
Topdog/Underdog begins previews March 14, 2019, and runs through April 14. Performances are at Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two, 2700 South Lang Street, Arlington, VA 22206. Tickets are available online or by calling 703-418-4808. Advance-purchase Pay What You Will tickets are now available online for previews.