Helmer tries out new tricks

Wolfe to phase out gradually from New York theater

Public Theater top dog George C. Wolfe dropped his bombshell — that he’ll step down “to write what I’ve been holding in for 11 years” — just before Thursday’s opening at the Mark Taper Forum of “Topdog/Underdog,” which Wolfe directed.

At the Omni Hotel after-party, the author of “The Colored Museum” said he’ll phase out gradually from “the New York theater that feels most like New York City.”

No underdog herself, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks said when she thought of naming the “Topdog” characters Lincoln and Booth, “I started laughing.” She said each new director and cast brings something different to the two-hander about abandonment and identity.

Others enjoying the hustle were Center Theater Group’s Gordon Davidson and the play’s Larry Gilliard Jr. and Harold Perrineau.

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