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Show_money_2For the final production of the 2004-2005 season, Luna Stage presents the New Jersey premiere of Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks, winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in drama. A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity, Topdog/Underdog tells the story of two brothers haunted by the past and forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.

Topdog/Underdog previews April 28 and 29, and runs from April 30 through May 22 at Luna Stage, located at 695 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair. Call the box office at 973.744.3309 or contact the theater’s website at www.lunastage.org for reservations.

3cardmonte_2The production stars Jamahl Marsh as Booth and Shane Taylor as Lincoln. Jamahl Marsh was last seen at Luna Stage as Thami in My Children! My Africa! which was directed by Eric Ruffin. Off Broadway credits include Jefferson in A Lesson Before Dying, a role created at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival; and performances with The Ensemble Studio Theatre Group and Playwrights Horizons. Regional credits include National Black Arts Festival; American Negro Ensemble in Nashville, TN; Crossroads Theatre and Studio Theater in Washington, DC. Mr. Marsh is also Artist in Residence for the Institute for Arts and Humanities in New Brunswick. Shane Taylor makes his Luna Stage debut in Topdog/Underdog. Recent theater credits include: in New York Cocaine and Underpants, The Love Talker, and Romeo and Juliet. Regional credits include Blues for an Alabama Sky – a co-production with Actors Theatre of Louisville and Berkshire Theatre Festival; Jitney at Indiana Repertory Theatre and Insurrection at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Mr. Taylor has trained at the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT,) Williamstown Theatre Festival and holds an MFA from Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts. Mr. Taylor appears next in the film God’s Forgotten House opposite N’Bushe Wright.

Director Eric Ruffin is the coordinator of the Pre-Directing program at Howard University and is currently completing his MFA in Directing from Rutgers University. He founded The Acting Studio at the Newark School of the Arts and is the Founder and Artistic Director for the Newark Youth Ensemble. Mr. Ruffin is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect and a 1999 recipient of the New York Drama League Directing Fellowship. He has been honored with a Shakespeare Theatre Acting Fellowship and the Princess Grace Grant for Dance. His most recent directing credits include Gavin Lawrence’s Cut Flowers at the Ira Aldridge Theater; Ain Gordon’s Public Ghosts/Private Stories at the George Street Playhouse; Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; and August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson at The African Globe in Newark, NJ.

The design team includes Leslie Fuhs Allen, Jill Nagle, Joseph Galione, and Larry W. Brown. Ms. Allen recently designed costumes for Rutgers Theater Company’s production of Vinegar Tom, Love of a Nightingale and Tartuffe as well as Lucky Stiff for The Lawrenceville School. Lighting designer Jill Nagles' more recent credits are Ibsen's Ghosts at Luna Stage, Lee Blessing' s Whores at NJ Repertory and Christopher Durang's Laughing Wild at Dreamcatcher Repertory. Joseph Galione, who designed sound for Luna Stage’s productions of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts and Ian Walker’s Beautiful Home for the Incurable, is composing original music. Larry Brown’s set design credits include the Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of Rollin' on the TOBA. An art director for CBS’s As The World Turns, Mr. Brown has worked as an assistant designer for National and International productions of Disney's Aida, Cinderella for Disney Cruise Lines, The Seagull in Central Park, and currently the new production of Phantom of the Opera for Las Vegas. His work includes regional productions with Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, The Western Stage Company, The Dicapo Opera Company and others. Liz Cesario will stage manage.

April 29, 2005