Northlight Theatre announces THE WHIPPING MAN January 18-February 24, 2013

whipping-man500x500-300x300Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artis

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tic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, continues its 2012-2013 season with Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man, directed by Kimberly Senior. The production will run at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie, from January 18-February 24, 2013.

When Caleb, a wounded Confederate soldier returns to his family’s home at the end of the Civil War, he finds it in ruins and abandoned by all but two former slaves. United by their Jewish faith, the three men celebrate a Seder while wrestling with a shared past they can’t escape—and uncover a tangle of secrets that threatens their family and their faith.

Artistic Director BJ Jones comments, “There is historical precedence for the storylines in Mathew Lopez’s compelling and surprising play The Whipping Man. The context of the fallen South at the end of the Civil War, the newly freed slaves, the returning Confederate soldier – son of a Jewish slave owner, makes for an exotic and combustive cocktail for a play, which is at once gripping and intellectually satisfying.”

The cast features Derek Gaspar, Sean Parris, and Tim Edward Rhoze.

The design team includes Jack Magaw (set design), Rachel Laritz (costume design), Chris Binder (lighting design), Christopher Kriz (sound design), Eva Breneman (dialect coach) and Chris Rickett (violence design).



Matthew Lopez (Playwright) The Whipping Man is one of the most celebrated and widely-produced new American plays of the last few theatrical seasons. It premiered off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club, directed by Doug Hughes and starring André Braugher. Mr. Lopez was awarded the John Gassner New Play Award from the Outer Critics Circle for this production. His play Somewhere premiered in 2011 at the Old Globe and is currently on the stage at Theatre Works in Palo Alto. Other plays include Reverberation, The Legend of Georgia McBride and The Sentinels, which premiered in 2011 in London. He is commissioned by Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Hartford Stage, where he is the 2012/13 Aetna New Voices Fellow. Mr. Lopez is currently a staff writer on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series The Newsroom.

Kimberly Senior (Director) Northlight: The Whipping Man (debut). Chicago: The Letters (Writers’ Theatre); Want, The North Plan (Steppenwolf); After the Revolution, The Overwhelming (Next); Cripple of Inishmaan, Bug, The Pillowman (Redtwist); Disgraced (American Theater Company); Waiting for Lefty (American Blues); Old Times, Uncle Vanya, Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters (Strawdog); Thieves Like Us (House Theatre); All My Sons, Dolly West’s Kitchen (TimeLine Theatre). Regional: Disgraced (LCT3); Murder on the Nile, A Few Good Men (Peninsula Players); Mauritius (Theatre Squared). Founder/Collaboraction, Artistic Associate/Next, Strawdog, Chicago Dramatists. Kimberly lives in Evanston with her husband, scenic designer Jack Magaw and her two children.

Derek Gaspar (Caleb), making his Northlight debut, has appeared in Three Sisters and The March (Steppenwolf Theatre), Chicago Boys (Goodman Theatre), Waiting for Lefty (American Blues Theater) and Orpheus Descending (Shattered Globe). Other companies he has had the pleasure to work with include Court, Next, Timeline, Pinebox and Trap Door Theatres.

Sean Parris (John), making his Northlight Theatre debut, has appeared in the world premiere of A Girl with Sun in Her Eyes (Pine Box Theatre), Letters Home (Griffin Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare), Pornography (Steep Theatre), Seascape (Remy Bumppo); Understudy in Angels In America (Court Theatre). Regional Credits include: Hamlet (Saratoga Shakespeare Festival). Sean is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Tim Edward Rhoze (Simon) is the Producing Artistic Director of the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre in Evanston, Illinois; he has directed For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, Having Our Say, Five Guys Named Moe, From the Mississippi Delta, Heat, Home, and playwright Tania Richards’ solo performance in her autobiographical Truth Be Told. Tim has performed at the Goodman Theatre in over a dozen plays, and more than 30 other productions at Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Detroit Repertory Theatre, Detroit’s Harmonie Park Playhouse, Plow Shares and Attic Theatres, Wayne State University’s Hilberry Repertory, University of Detroit Theatre Company and GEVA Theatre in Rochester New York.

The Box Office is located at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturdays 12:00pm-5:00pm. On performance days, the box office hours are extended through showtime. The Box Office is closed on Sundays, except on performance days when it is open two hours prior to showtime.

Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30pm; Wednesdays: 1:00pm and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm; Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm and 8:00pm; Sundays: 2:30pm, and 7:00pm.

Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production. All events are free for subscribers and ticket holders.

Salon Series will be held on select Wednesdays at 6:15pm and last approximately one hour. Gain deeper insight into each of the five plays in our 2012-13 mainstage season. Salon Series for The Whipping Man will be held January 30, 2013 and will feature Northwestern University professor E. Patrick Johnson.Event is FREE, but RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. Please call 847.679.9501 x 3605 to RSVP.

Community Conversations is a series of post-show discussions. Local experts join a Northlight facilitator, engaging audiences in a dialogue about the play’s themes and the creative process behind live theatre! The post-show discussions for The Whipping Man will be held on Sundays, January 20 and February 3 after the 2:30 performances; Tuesday, January 22after the 7:30 performance; Wednesday, January 23, after the 7:30 performance; and Wednesdays January 30 and February 13 after the 1:00pm performances.

Backstage with BJ is amid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal. Backstage with BJ for The Whipping Man will be held on January 11 at 12:00pm and will last approximately one hour. Reservations are required, 847.679.9501 x3555 or

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

Now in its 38th season, the organization has mounted nearly 200 productions, including over 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 151 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 28 Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.

Northlight’s production of The Whipping Man is sponsored in part by The Pauls Foundation, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, and Quince at the Homestead.

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from The Allyn Foundation; Arts Midwest; Blackman Kallick Bartelstein, LLP; BMO Harris Bank; Draft FCB; the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; ComEd, An Exelon Company; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Ernst & Young; Evanston Community Foundation; Gand Music & Sound; The Homestead Hotel; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; The Irving Harris Foundation; The Joyce Foundation; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Madison Dearborn Partners; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Foundation; Nuveen Investments; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Pioneer Press; Quince at the Homestead; Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; Shubert Foundation; Skokie Fine Arts Council; Sullivan Family Foundation; Target; and Tom Stringer Design Partners

Notes of Interest:

Over the past year, Kimberly Senior directed the World Premiere of Disgraced at American Theater Company and in New York; After the Revolution at Next; Cripple of Inishmaan at Redtwist; Murder on the Nile at Peninsula Players; and The Letters at Writers’ Theatre. Kimberly was, formerly, a teaching artist at Northlight Theatre.

The Whipping Man is the first play by Matthew Lopez’s to be professionally produced. He won the 2011 John Gassner Play writing Award by the NY Outer Critics Circle. The Whipping Man was one of the most produced plays in the country this year.

The Whipping Man represents an important part of American History. There is record of slaves being raised Jewish, most likely if the owner was Jewish. The play takes place at the end of the Civil War and raises questions of freedom, servitude and identity for all the characters.

In conjunction with The Whipping Man, Northlight is hosting a number of special events with community partners. All events are subject to change, and new events may be added. For up-to-date details, visit

  • Civil War era medical practice: why amputation was often the answer

Monday, January 21 at 4:00pm

Evanston Public Library

Free and open to the public

  • A post-Civil War state of affairs: the politics of race and religion and the Great Migration of African Americans

Wednesday, January 30 at 6:15 PM (preceding 7:30 performance)

Free and open to the public as part of Northlight’s Salon Series

  • A conversation with director Kimberly Senior and cast members

Thursday, January 31 at 3:30pm
Skokie Public Library


Wednesday February 6 at 3:30pm
Wilmette Public Library

Free and open to the public

  • Jewish slave owners in 19th-century America: a panel discussion with Rabbi Andrea London (Beth Emet), Reverend Mark Dennis (Second Baptist Church), Tim Rhoze (cast), and Skokie Mayor/Civil War expert George Van Dusen

Thursday February 7 at 3:30pm

Skokie Public Library

Free and open to the public

  • Abraham Lincoln on stage and screen: an expert from Springfield’s Lincoln Library examines the historical accuracy of Lincoln’s many theatrical representations

Date and Time TBA

Location TBA

Free and open to the public

  • Contrasts in construction: the Chicago Architecture Foundation compares Chicago’s post-Civil War architectural boom with a rapidly deteriorating South

Date and Time TBA

Location TBA

Free and open to the public

  • Scene Selections and Discussion of Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man

Saturday, February 2 at 7:30pm

Chicago History Museum (1601 N Clark, Chicago)

***This event is part of the New Voices: Festival of Jewish Playwrights presented in collaboration with the Chicago History Museum. For staged reading plays and dates, visit Tickets $15/$10 museum members: 312.642.4600