The Whipping Man

Winner of the 2011 John Gassner New Play Award from the NY Outer Critics Circle.

Purchase the script.

"Haunting, striking, and powerful" — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

"...The Whipping Man introduces a talented new writer..." — David Cote, NY1

"...wonderfully satisfying...the action spools out elegantly as new revelations arise and characterizations deepen." — Alexis Soloski, The Village Voice

"In the Manhattan Theatre Club production of Matthew Lopez's impressive début play, directed by Doug Hughes, every detail contributes to a perfect balance between realism and drama, culminating in a Seder loaded with ironies and revelations. 'Why is this year different from all other years?' John asks, smiling, and we all share in the characters' amazement." — The New Yorker

"The audacious work marks the debut of a Fresh Talent" — Mark Kennedy, Associated Press

"The acting is superb and the smart dialogue ranges from rhythmic to biting to funny" — Aubry D'Arminio, Entertainment Weekly

"Lopez's drama has undeniable power" — Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

"Fresh and compelling. Gripping" — Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News

"A boldly, vividly, and tautly-written drama" — Michael Sommers, New Jersey Newsroom

"Matthew Lopez's affecting, suspenseful and at times searing play strips the skin off such lofty ideas as freedom and honor to peer at the raw nerves underneath, and lay bare the cost paid for such lofty notions." — James Hebert, San Diego Union Tribune

"Succeeds with an uncanny maturity in using sharply drawn characters and rich metaphor to wrestle Wilson-like with epic American issues of race, religion, and responsibility. Someone must succeed Wilson; it might as well be Lopez" — Tim Gihring, Minnesota Monthly


Matthew Lopez - On Stage from source/record on Vimeo.


It is Passover, 1865.  The Civil War has just ended and the annual celebration of freedom from bondage is being observed in Jewish homes across the country.  One of these homes, belonging to the DeLeons of Virginia, sits in ruins.  Confederate officer Caleb DeLeon has returned from the war to find his family missing and only two former slaves remaining.  Caleb is badly wounded and the two men, Simon and John, are forced to care for him.

As the three men wait for the family's return, they wrestle with their shared past as master and slave, digging up long-buried family secrets along the way as well as new ones.  Slavery and war, they discover, warp even good men's souls.

Upcoming Productions:

South Coast Rep, Costa Mesa, CA January 4 - 25, 2015

Rights & Licensing:

The Whipping Man is now published and licensed by Sam French. For scripts and performance rights, go here.

Production History:

April 2006 - World Premiere at Luna Stage Company in Montclair, NJ
February 2009 - Production at Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, MN
May 2010 - West Coast Premiere at Old Globe in San Diego, CA
June 2010 - New England Premiere at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, MA
February 2011 - New York Premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, NY
September 2011 - Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Wes Bloomfield, MI
October–December 2011 – Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia, PA
February 2012 – Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
February 23-March 18, 2012 – Hartford Stage, Hartford, CT
March 15-April 1, 2012 – Gorilla Theatre, Tampa, FL
March 16-April 8, 2012 – Kansas City Rep, Kansas City, MO
March 22-April 14, 2012 – Circle Theatre, Ft. Worth, TX
April 4-May 13, 2012 – CENTERSTAGE, Baltimore, MD
April 18-May 20, 2012 – Theatre J, Washington, DC
November 2-December 2, 2012 - Cleveland Play House, Cleveland, OH
January 8-February 2, 2013 - Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Louisville, KY
January 18-February 24, 2013 - Northlight Theatre Company, Skokie, IL
January 23-February 10, 2013 - Kitchen Theatre Company, Ithaca, NY
February 20-March 9, 2013 - Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
February 26-March 24, 2013 - Portland Center State, Portland, OR
February 26-March 17, 2013 - Virginia Stage Company, Norfolk, VA
March 5-March 24, 2013 - Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis, IN
March 8-April 7, 2013 - Alliance Theatre Company, Atlanta, GA
March 15-March 30, 2013 - Gulfshore Playhouse, Naples, FL
March 16-April 4, 2013 - Obsidian Theatre Company, Toronto, Canada
March 28-April 21, 2013 - Marin Theatre Company, Mill Valley, CA
April 2-April 28, 2013 - Geva Theatre Company, Rochester, NY