JACKSON—New Stage Theatre asks soul searching questions about family, faith, ethics, and personal freedom with Matthew Lopez’s award winning play The Whipping Man. Can loyalty and freedom coexist? A Jewish Confederate soldier and two of his former slaves are left to observe Passover together in the wake of the Civil War, prompting the challenging examination and reconciliation of the past while revealing the fear and uncertainty of venturing into a new future. Currently one of the top five plays produced throughout the country, the New York Times hailed The Whipping Man as “haunting, striking, and powerful.” Artistic Director, Francine Thomas Reynolds directs this historical drama, which runs February 25 – March 9, 2014. Preview night is Tuesday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. Curtain times and dates for all other performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Sundays.
The Whipping Man is sponsored by the Mississippi Arts Commission and The Real Yellow Pages.
“Matthew Lopez’s drama is a great piece of storytelling with interesting history, excitement, passion and suspense,” said Director Francine Thomas Reynolds. “I am drawn to the play’s strong subject matters. You can’t make things like slavery, Civil War medicine and betrayal particularly easy to watch, but because The Whipping Man bridges different cultures, it is the type of production that has the power to do more than just entertain. It has the power to incite public discourse and transformation.”
The cast features three veterans of New Stage. Brian Maxsween plays Caleb, an injured Confederate soldier returning home, only to be confronted with devastation and loss. In addition to being seen in last season’s The Great Gatsby at New Stage, Maxsween has appeared in the National Tours of The Wizard of Oz and Pinkalicious!, and in the World Premiere of Lisa Loeb's musical Camp Kappawanna. In the role of Simone, the former slave who clings to an inherited faith and the hope that his own family will be reunited, is New Stage favorite Jay Unger. Unger has been seen in many New Stage productions including A Christmas Carol and Driving Miss Daisy. He has worked in television and films including Huckleberry Finn and O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?, and his voice can be heard in many commercials and voiceovers. Completing the trio is Yohance Myles as John, also a former slave, now torn between the opportunities and responsibilities of his new-found freedom. Myles is currently a professor at Jackson State University and has recently completed a series of film and television projects which include, The Host, This is the End, Common Law, and Treme. Unger and Myles appear through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.
An Actor Chat is immediately following the performances on Wednesday, February 25 and Wednesday, March 5.
The Whipping Man performances are February 25 – March 9, 2014. Ticket prices are $28.00 with discounts available for students, senior citizens and groups. Student Rush tickets are also available one hour prior to each performance for $10 with valid student identification. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, charged by phone by calling the theatre at (601) 948-3531 or ordered online at www.newstagetheatre.com. The theatre is located in the Jane Reid Petty Theatre Center at 1100 Carlisle Street in the Belhaven neighborhood.