Press Release - The Whipping Man

The Whipping Man is a Powerful and Haunting Start to 2015 at South Coast Repertory

COSTA MESA, Calif. (Dec. 10, 2014)—Playwright Matthew Lopez describes his parents as Civil War buffs, and his own interest in that period of American history helped shape his first stage work—The Whipping Man. This award-winning play is featured next on the Julianne Arygros Stage at South Coast Repertory. Founding Artistic Director Martin Benson directs the production, which runs Jan. 4-25. Tickets are available at

The story is set as a raging storm illuminates what’s left of a once-majestic plantation home; three Jewish men prepare for Passover—the owner’s son (Caleb) and his family’s former slaves (Simon and John). Only Simon remains strong in his faith, but it is threatened by the truths about what happened in this house—and in their lives—during its antebellum days.

The Whipping Man has a great deal to do with tradition and values, and looks at the issue of slavery in many different ways,” said Benson. “This play is a unique look at an important time in history.”

Lopez wanted to dramatize what he saw as the “the first tentative steps of the long, painful, hopeful journey” that began at the end of the war in April 1865. He started his research with a question: how did former slaves face sudden freedom? He discovered that there were 50,000 Jews in the South prior to the Civil War and some of the wealthiest families owned slaves.

The New York Times describes the play as “haunting and powerful” and it was a runaway success, earning New York’s Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards. It is one of America’s most-produced plays.

The cast for The Whipping Man includes Adam Hunter as Caleb; Charlie Robinson as Simon and Jarrod Smith as John.

The design and creative team includes Thomas Buderwitz, scenic design; Angela Balogh Calin, costume design; Lonnie Rafel Alcaraz, lighting design; and Michael Roth, original music/soundscape. The show’s production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Kathryn Davies.

The Whipping Man is generously supported by Honorary Producers Barbara Roberts and Brook Roberts-Webb and Mary Beth Adderley. The media partner is Orange County Jewish Life Magazine.

Tickets start at $22. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit:

Related Information for The Whipping Man

Tickets: May be purchased online at, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the box office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run Jan. 4-25. Ticket prices start at $22. Low-priced preview performances run Jan. 4-8. 

Performance Dates, Times: 

  • Previews
    • Sunday, Jan. 4, at 2 p.m.
    • Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 6-8 7:45 p.m.
      Note: Friday, Jan. 9, is an invitation-only performance
  • Regular performances
    Special notes: There are no Monday performances. There is no evening performance on Sunday, Jan. 25.

  • Evenings:
    • Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 10-11, Jan. 17-18, Jan. 24, at 7:45 p.m.
    • Tuesday-Friday, Jan. 13-16, and Jan. 20-23, 7:45 p.m.
  • Matinees:
    • Saturdays-Sundays, Jan. 10-11, Jan. 17-18, and Jan. 24-25 at 2 p.m.
  • ASL-interpreted: Saturday, Jan. 24, at 2 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Post-Show Discussions: Tuesday, Jan. 13, and Wednesday, Jan. 14. Discuss the play with cast members of The Whipping Man during free post-show discussions led by South Coast Repertory’s literary team. Julianne Argyros Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, Jan. 17, from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively two-hour session features in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from SCR's production staff, revealing secrets and offering insights into SCR’s production of The Whipping Man. The event includes a guided tour of the set. Julianne Argyros Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

Upcoming Productions: Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult, Jan. 23-Feb. 22; The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Dwayne Hartford, Feb. 6-22, as part of Theatre for Young Audiences; tokyo fish story by Kimber Lee, March 8-29; Of Good Stock by Melissa Ross, March 27-April 26; Mr. Wolf by Rajiv Joseph, April 12-May 3; Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice, May 8-June 7; and OZ 2.5 by Catherine Trieschmann, May 22-June 7. Pacific Playwrights Festival runs April 24-26. More information is available online:

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. One-quarter of SCR’s 525 productions have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.