THE WHIPPING MAN Opens Tonight at The City Theatre
Tied by faith. Bound by secrets. The City Theatre is gearing up for the start of the 2014 Season next month with The Whipping Man, Matthew Lopez's award-winning drama that has been recognized from coast to coast. Under the direction of guest director Stacey Glazer and starring three veterans of the CTC stage, The Whipping Man runs tonight, February 7 - March 2.
Richmond, April 1865. The Civil War has ended, and a badly wounded Confederate soldier stumbles into the ruin of what was once his home. His family has fled the city's destruction, leaving two former slaves to wait and watch. Together they care for the wounded man, and, having adopted the religion of their former owners, celebrate Passover. They soon discover that, though they are no longer tied by ownership, they remain tied by faith and history. Deep-buried secrets from the past refuse to be suppressed as the play comes to its shocking climax. It is a story about redemption and forgiveness; about the lasting scars of slavery; and the responsibility that comes with freedom.
Since opening off-Broadway to critical acclaim and winning the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play, The Whipping Man has become one of the most produced plays in the country. It premiered at Luna Stage Theatre Company in New Jersey in 2006 and has been produced in theatres across the nation, most famously off-Broadway by the Manhattan Theater Club at City Center's Stage, with Emmy Award-winning actor Andre Braugher and Tony Award-winning director Doug Hughes. According to Theatre Communications Group, The Whipping Man was the third most produced play of the 2012-13 Season in the US, behind Bruce Norris's Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park and David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People. Lopez's work was last seen in Denver, St. Louis, Syracuse, Portland, Milwaukee, and now in Austin. Read more on Matthew Lopez.
"This play takes a look at the most significant part of American history," mentions Artistic Director Andy Berkovsky. With recent films like "Lincoln" and "12 Years a Slave," we see how issues in our culture - race and identity, faith and freedom - come from very deep roots and are still important in the national dialogue. The play is superbly written, with such power and insight that, I believe, Austin audiences will want to experience it."
Stacey Glazer directs the premiere production for City Theatre where she last directed How the Other Half Loves, The Crucible and the critically honored Rabbit Hole.
The production features the return of three CTC actors. Andrew Bosworth (Othello) plays Caleb, the injured Confederate soldier returning home, only to be confronted with devastation and loss. In the role of Simon, the former slave who clings to an inherited faith and the hope that his family will be reunited, is Robert Pellette (Fences, The Meeting). Completing the trio is Richard R. Romeo (Fences, Topdog/Underdog) as John, also a former slave, now torn between the opportunities and responsibilities of his new-found freedom.
Rounding out the production team is Andy Berkovsky (Production Design), Bert Flanagan (Costumes) with original music written and played by composer/musician Omar Lopez.
Throughout the run, CTC will be providing numerous opportunities for audiences to engage in discussions inspired by the themes of the show. CTC is collaborating with Jewish and African-American organizations to present talks about the play following the Sunday performances.
The City Theatre Company is an Austin-based, not-for-profit arts organization and is sponsored in part by the Austin Creative Alliance and the Austin Cultural Arts Division. Founded in 2006, the company has been recognized by the Austin Critics Table Awards, the B. Iden Payne Awards and has twice been voted "Best Theatre Company" by Austin-American Statesman's Austin 360. CTC is dedicated in providing quality theatrical experiences and entertainment for Austin artists and its community.