Whipping Man, Civil War Drama With a Twist, Makes NYC Debut; Andre Braugher Stars

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13 Jan 2011

Andre Holland
Andre Holland
Photo by Krissie Fullerton

The Whipping Man, Matthew Lopez's historical drama about a Confederate Jewish solider returning home to his former slaves, who are also Jewish, gets its New York City premiere starting Jan. 13.

Doug Hughes (Doubt) directs the Manhattan Theatre Club's Off-Broadway production at New York City Center Stage I. Opening night is Feb. 1. A one-week extension of the run (to March 20) was announced on the morning of the first preview.

Jay Wilkison (of the film "Rabbit Hole") plays the soldier, and Andre Holland (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Brother/Sister Plays) and Emmy Award winner Andre Braugher (TV's "Homicide" and "Men of a Certain Age") are the freed slaves.

Here's how the play (which has been seen in regional theatres around the country) is described by MTC: "April, 1865: the Civil War has ended. Caleb DeLeon, a Jewish Confederate soldier, returns wounded from the battlefield to find his family home in ruins, abandoned by everyone except Simon (Braugher) and John — two former slaves, who were raised as Jews in the DeLeon home. As the three men reunite to celebrate Passover, and recall the exodus from Egypt in light of their own new liberties, they uncover a tangle of secrets… ties that bind them together and that, ultimately, might cost each man his freedom."

Since its premiere at Luna Stage in Montclair, NJ, The Whipping Man has been produced at The Old Globe in San Diego, CA, and at Barrington Stage. Lopez's other plays include Tio Pepe (Summer Play Festival 2008), Reverberation and Zoey's Perfect Wedding.

The creative team features John Lee Beatty (scenic design), Catherine Zuber (costume design), Ben Stanton (lighting design), Jill BC DuBoff (sound design), and J. David Brimmer (fight direction).

Braugher has earned two Emmy Awards: in 1998 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for work on "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and in 2006 for his starring role in the miniseries "Thief." In 2010, he received his sixth Emmy nomination for the series "Men of a Certain Age," which returned for its second season Dec. 6 on TNT. On stage, Braugher received an Obie Award for his performance in the 1996 Shakespeare in the Park production of Henry V. Other New York stage credits include Hamlet, The Tragedy of Richard II, Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night.

For more information on MTC, visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.