Local actors Christopher Dontrell Piper and David Jeremiah in Topdog/Underdog

Topdog/Underdog Could Be Your Way Back Into Dallas Theater

Theater in this town has never been better. So why are there so many empty seats? Tickets are reasonable—about $10 for most shows, with free parking at most theaters. Many companies, including Kitchen Dog and Theatre Three, even offer “pay what you can” performances.

But opening nights recently have seen the curtain going up for woefully sparse houses. Twelve people at the marvelous Neat at the African American Rep in DeSoto. Fifteen at the Sunday matinee of Make Me a Song at WaterTower.

If there’s any show right now that deserves to be SRO, it’s Topdog/Underdog, the first show by the aptly named Upstart Productions. More about the show after the jump -- including video from the production.

The two-man play by Suzan-Lori Parks won the 2002 Pulitzer. And Dallas Theater Center did it in 2004. But in the tiny studio space at The Hub in Deep Ellum, the play really explodes with the exciting performances of Dallas-born actors Christopher Dontrell Piper and David Jeremiah. The men have been close friends since childhood, so playing brothers was a natural.

They’re spectacularly good. Take a look at our video (language NSFW) of the scene where older brother Lincoln (Jeremiah) tries to school Booth (Piper) in the finer points of three-card monte. When these guys are big stars, remember where you saw them first. --Elaine Liner

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