Kansas City Repertory Theatre continues its 2011-12 season with The Whipping Man, a Civil War drama by Matthew Lopez, directed by the Rep's Artistic Director Eric Rosen. The Whipping Man runs March 16-April 8, 2012 at Spencer Theatre in the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center where the Rep is the professional theatre in residence.
In The Whipping Man, three men tied by faith and bound by secrets are at a crossroads – a Jewish Confederate soldier who has returned from battle, and two former slaves, who were raised as Jews in his household. As the three men reunite to celebrate Passover, they uncover a tangle of secrets that might cost each man his freedom.
The Whipping Man first premiered in 2006 at Luna Stage in Montclair, NJ, and has become one of the more regularly produced new American plays. It has also had productions by Penumbra Theater Company in St. Paul, MN, which specializes in African American-themed material; Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA; and the Old Globe Theater in San Diego and a 2011 sold-out run at Manhattan Theatre Club which was extended three times.
Playwright Matthew Lopez was awarded the John Gassner Playwrighting Award by the Outer Critics Circle for The Whipping Man and holds new play commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company and The Old Globe, where he is also Artist-in-Residence.
Rosen has been Artistic Director of the Rep since 2008. Prior to his appointment he was Founding Artistic Director of About Face Theatre in Chicago. At the Rep he has directed Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, Trip to Bountiful, Clay (which he co-wrote), Winesburg, Ohio (writer), A Christmas Story, the Musical!, Venice, Cabaret and August: Osage County. In May 2010, Venice, which Rosen also co-wrote, was named "Year's Best Musical" by TIME magazine.
The Whipping Man cast is Josh Breckenridge as John (Bdwy: The Scottsboro Boys, The Ritz; Off-Bdwy: The Scottsboro Boys, Saved!); Michael Genet as Simon (Bdwy: Lestat, A Few Good Men, Hamlet, Northeast Local; Off-Bdwy: Rosa Parks, A Soldiers Play) and Kyle Hatley, who is also Associate Artistic Director of the Rep, as Caleb (directing: The Borderland, Broke-ology, Circle Mirror Transformation, A Christmas Carol; acting: The Glass Menagerie, all at Kansas City Rep).
The creative team includes: Jack Magaw, Scenic Design (Cabaret, A Flea in Her Ear, Winesburg, Ohio–KC Rep; I Just Stopped by to See the Man-Alliance; Disgraced-American Theater Company; She Loves Me-Writers Theatre); Alison Heryer, Costume Design (New York: The Bluest Eye-New Victory; The Fall to Earth, A Lesson Before Dying, World Set Free – Steppenwolf); Victor En Yu Tan (Broke-ology, The Borderland, Under Midwestern Stars, A Young Lady from Rwanda, Liliom, Machinal-KC Rep; The Ballad of Emmitt Till-Goodman Theatre, As You Like It, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet-New York Shakespeare Festival); Andre Pluess, Sound Design (August: Osage County, David Cale's The History of Kisses and Palomino, The Arabian Nights, Winesburg, Ohio–KC Rep; Metamorphoses, I Am My Own Wife, 33 Variations, The Clean House-Lincoln Center). Production Stage Manager is Brooke Redler.
The Conversation Series for The Whipping Man takes place at Spencer Theatre and is free to the public, although a ticket is required to attend the performance.