Tuesday, January 21, 2014

L.A. Premiere Of Lopez's 'The Whipping Man'


West Coast Jewish Theatre has announced the Los Angeles Premiere of The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez. Directed by Howard Teichman, the production will play two previews on February 6 and 7 with opening set for Saturday, February 8 at the Pico Playhouse in West Los Angeles. The engagement will run through April 13.

It is April, 1865. The Civil War is over and throughout the South slaves are being freed, soldiers are returning home, and in Jewish homes the annual holiday of Passover is being celebrated. Into the chaos of war-torn Richmond, VA comes Caleb DeLeon, a young Jewish Confederate officer who has been severely wounded. He finds his family's home in ruins and abandoned, save for two former slaves who wait in the empty house for the family's return. As the three men wait for signs of life to return to the city, they wrestle with their shared past and the reality of the new world in which they find themselves. 

Of the 2011 Manhattan Theatre Club production, The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood said, “The Whipping Man ... is an atmospheric period drama ... that surely has few equals in its arresting strangeness.” And of a 2013 production in St. Louis, the Dispatch proclaimed, “You don’t have to be Black or Jewish, let alone both, to appreciate this provocative drama.”

The cast of The Whipping Man will feature (in alphabetical order) Kirk KelleykhanRicco Ross, and Shawn Savage. The set design is by Kurtis Bedford, lighting design is by Ellen Monocroussous, costume design is by Michelle Young, and sound design is by Bill Froggatt.  The stage manager is Priscilla Miranda. 
Playwright Matthew Lopez was awarded the John Gassner New Play Award from the New York Outer Critics Circle for The Whipping Man, and since premiering at Luna Stage in 2006 the play has been produced by over two dozen theatres across the country. The Whipping Man premiered in New York in 2010 at Manhattan Theatre Club. Other plays by Lopez include Somewhere, Reverberation, Zoey’s Perfect Wedding and The Sentinels. His newest play, The Legend of Georgia McBride, will premiere at the Denver Theatre Center this winter. Lopez currently holds new play commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Hartford Stage.

Howard Teichman is the Artistic Director of West Coast Jewish Theatre. For WCJT, he has produced and/or directed I’m Not Rappaport, The Immigrant: The Musical, Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot LoversSarah Sarah, The Value of Names, and the Ovation Recommended production of Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass. Other directing credits include From Door to Door, Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers and Rumors, Murray Schisgal’s LUV, and Modern Orthodox (LA Weekly nomination, Best Comedy Director). Teichman has worked extensively with Theatre 40, Buffalo Nights Theatre Company, and The Laugh Factory Ensemble, among others. While living in Chicago he was a member of the legendary “Second City” improvisational troupe. 

The Whipping Man will play two preview performances on Thursday, February 6 and Friday, February 7 at 8pm, and opening is set for Saturday, February 8 at 8pm. Preview tickets are $20 and regular performances range from $25—$35. The regular running schedule is Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm through April 13. Tickets are available online at  www.wcjt.org or by phone at (323) 821-2449. The Pico Playhouse is located at 10508 W. Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, 90064. 

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