Geva Theatre Center's 40th Anniversary Season continues with The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez, directed by Tim Ocel. This new Civil War drama begins performances on April 2 and runs in the Elaine P. Wilson Mainstage through April 28.
At the conclusion of the Civil War, a Jewish Confederate soldier returns to his family's abandoned plantation in Virginia. Abandoned, that is, except for two of the family's former slaves: both raised in Judaism. Against the backdrop of a changing America, the three men negotiate their new relationship, honor their shared faith and celebrate newfound freedom during Passover.
Matthew Lopez's play The Whipping Man is currently one of the most regularly produced plays in America with productions planned in over 15 US cities this season. For it, Mr. Lopez was awarded the John Gassner Playwriting Award from the Outer Critics Circle. His play Somewhere, premiered last year at The Old Globe and other works include Reverberation, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Zoey's Perfect Wedding and The Sentinels, which premiered last year in London as part of Headlong Theatre Company's 9/11 Decade Project. Mr. Lopez is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect, a past member of the Ars Nova Play Group and a recent artist-in-residence at The Old Globe. He is currently the 2012/13 Aetna New Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage. He is commissioned by Hartford Stage, Roundabout Theatre Company and Manhattan Theatre Club. Mr. Lopez is a staff writer on the HBO series "The Newsroom."
The Whipping Man premiered at Luna Stage in Montclair, New Jersey in 2006 and was produced and developed at Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, Minnesota and The Old Globe in San Diego before arriving in New York, where it premiered Off-Broadway in 2011 at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Geva's production of The Whipping Man is a co-production with Indiana Repertory Theatre. The ensemble cast features Andrew C. Ahrens as Caleb DeLeon, the wounded Jewish Confederate soldier; and David Alan Anderson and Tyler Jacob Rollinson as former slaves Simon and John.
Geva welcomes back director Tim Ocel, an Affiliate Guest Artist, who has directed Geva productions of Evie's Waltz, Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, and Dial M for Murder, among others. The design team includes Erhard Rom (scenic design), Dorothy Marshall Englis (costume design), Kendall Smith (lighting design) and Todd Mack Reischman (sound design). Music has been composed for this production by Affiliate Guest Artist Gregg Coffin, who composed the music and lyrics for Geva's annual holiday production, A Christmas Carol, as well as the musicals Convenience and Five Course Love.
Photo Credit: Zach Rosing/Courtesy of Indiana Repertory Theatre.