Marin Theatre and Virginia Stage's THE WHIPPING MAN to Play in Norfolk thru 3/17; Opens at MTC, 4/2
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by BWW News Desk
Marin Theatre Company, in a co-production with Virginia Stage Company, will stage the regional premiere of Matthew Lopez's Civil War drama The Whipping Man in Mill Valley from March 28 to April 21, 2013. MTC's artistic director Jasson Minadakis directs the production. Featuring popular Bay Area actors L. Peter Callender, Nicholas Pelczar and Tobie Windham, as well as the design team from MTC's 2011 San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award nominated production of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, this co-production will rehearse and run at VSC in Norfolk, Virginia, from February 26 to March 17, 2013, before moving to MTC. Opening night at MTC is on Tuesday, April 2.
"When I first spoke to Virginia Stage Company's artistic director Chris Hanna about co-producing Matthew Lopez's The Whipping Man, the first mutual connection we found to the play was the setting: Richmond, Virginia," says Minadakis, a native of that city. "I've read countless plays in my career and this was the first set in my hometown. Since selecting The Whipping Man for our seasons, the 2012 presidential election and success of films like Lincoln and Django Unchained have pushed one of the play's core themes - race and identity - into our national dialogue and highlighted just what an important new American play The Whipping Man is. I am so honored to have been able to bring the work of Bay Area actors L. Peter Callender, Nicholas Pelczar and Tobie Windham, as well as the design team from The Glass Menagerie, to Norfolk to share with VSC's staff, artists and patrons and I am thrilled to bring this production back to MTC to share with our own community."
In the final days of the Civil War, three Jewish men - two emancipated slaves and their former owner's son, a wounded Confederate captain - share an uneasy, improvised seder to mark Passover and commemorate their ancestor's escape from slavery in Egypt. They soon discover that, though they are no longer tied by ownership, they remain tied by faith, history and explosive secrets.
Winner of the New York Outer Critics Circle's 2011 John Gassner Playwriting Award, The Whipping Man premiered at Luna Stage Theatre Company in New Jersey in 2006 and has been produced throughout the country, most famously Off Broadway by the Manhattan Theater Club at City Center's Stage in 2011 with Emmy Award-winning actor Andre Braugher and Tony Award-winning director Doug Hughes. According to Theatre Communications Group, The Whipping Man is the third most produced play of the 2012-13 season in the US, behind Bruce Norris's Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park and David Linsay-Abaire's Good People. Lopez's work was last seen in the Bay Area in January/February 2013, with Somewhere premiering regionally at TheatreWorks in Mountain View.
MTC's artistic director Jasson Minadakis directs this production of The Whipping Man. He won the 2010 SFBATCC Award for best director (Equivocation) and was nominated in the same category in 2011 (The Glass Menagerie). This co-production features the return of Bay Area actors L. Peter Callender (Circle Mirror Transformation, Seven Guitars and My Children! My Africa!), Nicholas Pelczar (The Glass Menagerie and Othello, the Moor of Venice) and Tobie Windham (Seven Guitars) to MTC, as well as the complete design team from MTC's 2011 SFBATCC Award nominated production of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie (entire production and set design) - scenic designer Kat Conley, costume designer Jacqueline Firkins, lighting designer Ben Wilhelm, composer Chris Houston and props artisan Seren Helday - with the addition of sound designer Will McCandless.
The first six performances of MTC's The Whipping Man, which centers around a Passover seder held during the last days of the Civil War in April 1865, fall during this year's Passover festival (March 25 to April 2, 2013). MTC is collaborating with a number of Jewish organizations to present talks and lectures about the play. As of this release, the free public lecture "Passover and American Slavery: A discussion of Matthew Lopez's historical drama The Whipping Man" has been scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, at San Francisco Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., San Francisco.
The Whipping Man | Bay Area premiere
March 28 - April 21, 2012
Check marintheatre.org or call the box office at (415) 388-5208 for exact performance dates and times.
Tickets run $36-$57. Discounts available: RUSH tickets: $15, available one hour prior to show, based on availability; Under 30: $20, all performances; Senior discounts: varies by performance, please call; Military personnel, their families and US veterans: $5 off, all performances, must show ID. For group sales, contact Julie Knight, (415) 388-5200, ext. 3302
"MTC Engaged" invites patrons to join MTC's artistic staff, designers and casts in conversation. A member of MTC's artistic staff (often with one or more members of the cast) hosts a Q&A talk back after every performance, except Saturday matinees and evenings, and Opening and Closing Nights.
MTC Engaged Special Events:
- Theater Lecture Series at Larkspur Library: FREE public lecture by MTC artistic staff, 400 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, 3/14, 7:30 p.m.
- Theater Lecture Series at Mill Valley Public Library: FREE public lecture by MTC artistic staff, 375 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 3/20, 7:30 p.m.
- After Words: post-show interview with special guest: Sun 3/31, 2:00 p.m.
- "Passover and American Slavery" at San Francisco Jewish Community Center: FREE public lecture by MTC artistic staff, 3200 California St., San Francisco, Wed 4/3, 1:00 p.m.
- Director's Night: post-show conversation with director: Wed 4/3 & 4/17
- Theater Lecture Series at Belvedere-Tiburon Library: FREE public lecture by MTC artistic staff; 1501 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon; 4/9, 7:30 p.m.
- Perspectives: pre-show topical lecture: Thu 4/11, 12:00 p.m.
"MTC All Access" strives to make theater accessible to all audiences. For visually impaired patrons, Large Print playbills are available at the box office at all performances, Digital playbills that are compatible with screen reader software are available online starting one week before the first performance of a production, and Braille playbills are available with two-weeks advance notice through partnership with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. To request a Braille playbill, call MTC's Box Office, (415) 388-5208, or use the California Telecommunications Relay Service by dialing "711." For hearing impaired patrons, amplified sound Listening Devices are available.
Matthew Lopez (playwright) makes his debut at MTC with The Whipping Man, which is currently one of the most regularly produced plays in America with productions planned in over 15 US cities in the 2012/2013 season. The Whipping Man premiered Off Broadway in 2011 at Manhattan Theatre Club, directed by Doug Hughes and featuring Andre Braugher. For this production, he was awarded the John Gassner Playwriting Award by the Outer Critics Circle. The play premiered at Luna Stage in Montclair, New Jersey, in 2006 and was produced and developed at Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul and The Old Globe in San Diego. Lopez's play Somewhere premiered in 2012 at The Old Globe under the direction of Giovanna Sardelli and was produced in January 2013 at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto. His 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. 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. Lopez is a staff writer on the HBO series The Newsroom.
Jasson Minadakis (director) is in his seventh season as artistic director of MTC, where he has directed Waiting for Godot, Othello, the Moor of Venice, The Glass Menagerie, Edward Albee's Tiny Alice, the world premiere of Seagull, Happy Now?, Equivocation (2010 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Director), the world premiere of Sunlight, Lydia, The Seafarer, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Streetcar Named Desire, said Saïd, Love Song and The Subject Tonight is Love. As artistic director of Actor's Express Theatre Company, he directed The Pillowman, Bug, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Echoes of Another Man, Killer Joe, Burn This, The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, Blue/Orange and Bel Canto. As producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, he directed Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, Chagrin Falls (2002 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Production), The Beard of Avon, Arcadia, Nocturne, Fuddy Meers, Lovers & Executioners, Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, Betrayal, The Weir, Waiting for Godot, The Misanthrope, A Chance of Lightning, The Three Musketeers, Dracula, The Color Wheel and 19 productions of Shakespeare. Regional credits include The Whipping Man at Virginia Stage Company, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hamlet at Georgia Shakespeare, Copenhagen at Playhouse on the Square (2003 Ostrander Theatre Award for Best Dramatic Production) and Bedroom Farce at Wayside Theatre. In 2004, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing and Southern Voice named him best director of the year.
L. Peter Callender (Simon) has appeared at MTC in Circle Mirror Transformation, Seven Guitars and My Children! My Africa! He most recently appeared in The Whipping Man at the Virginia Stage Company. Callender is currently the artistic director of African-American Shakespeare Company in San Francisco and an associate artist at Cal Shakes, where he has acted in over 20 productions. His Bay Area credits include roles at A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, Brava!, Magic Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, Diablo Actors Ensemble, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, TheatreWorks and San Francisco Symphony. In New York, Callender appeared on Broadway in Prelude to a Kiss and Julie Taymor's The Tempest at Classic Stage Company, as well as in roles at the Manhattan Theater Club, New York Shakespeare Festival and Circle Rep. Other regional theater credits include Arena Stage, The Rep in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh Public, Cincinnati Playhouse, Syracuse Stage and Pennsylvania Stage Company. He has appeared in the films Sweet November, Dr. Doolittle, The Kite Runner and voices in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Callender trained at the Juilliard School.
Nicholas Pelczar (Caleb) has appeared at MTC in Othello, the Moor of Venice, The Glass Menagerie and boom. He most recently appeared in The Whipping Man at the Virginia Stage Company. His Bay Area credits include War Music, Rock 'n' Roll and A Christmas Carol at A.C.T.; Hamlet, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Othello, Titus Andronicus, Taming of the Shrew, All's Well That Ends Well and The Importance of Being Earnest at Cal Shakes; The Pitmen Painters at TheatreWorks; 4 Adverbs with Word for Word; Hamlet and As You Like It at Pacific Repertory Theatre; A Midsummer Night's Dream at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival; and Marius and Dublin Carol at Aurora Theatre Company. He is a graduate of the A.C.T. MFA acting program.
Tobie Windham (John) has appeared at MTC in Seven Guitars (San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle nominee for best actor). He most recently appeared in The Whipping Man at the Virginia Stage Company. His other credits include Slither, Balm in Gilead, The Lily's Revenge, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Brothers Size (SFBATCC nominee for best actor), Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, The Pastures of Heaven and Two Real Coons. He has performed in the Bay Area at A.C.T., Magic Theatre and Cal Shakes; in southern California at South Coast Repertory and Chalk Repertory Theater; and in Alabama at City Equity Theater, South City Theater Company and Birmingham Park Players. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Windham earned his BA in theater from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is a graduate of A.C.T.'s MFA program. He is a founding artistic member of Renovation Theater Company.
Founded in 1967, Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area's premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights from the 20th century and today in our intimate 231-seat proscenium theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American Playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards, new play readings and workshops by the nation's best emerging playwrights and a leadership position in the National New Play Network. Our numerous education programs serve more than 6,000 students each year.
Photo Credit: Samuel W Flint, courtesy of Virginia Stage Company.