BY MICHAEL SOMMERS
OFF BROADWAY REVIEW
A compact, tautly-written drama set at the conclusion of the Civil War, "The Whipping Man" studies two recently-freed slaves and their former master, all of them Jews, dealing with new realities.
Newcomer playwright Matthew Lopez takes an original idea and develops it boldly in an old-school style sure to please viewers who enjoy a good story vigorously played out.
Originally presented by New Jersey's Luna Stage in 2006, "The Whipping Man" has since appeared at several regional theaters but only now arrives in New York, where Manhattan Theatre Club's enjoyable Off Broadway production opened on Tuesday.
Spanning a few rainy days in mid-April 1865, Lopez's scenario reminds us that some slaves were raised in the faith of their owners. That's the case for middle-aged Simon (Andre Braugher) and the younger John (Andre Holland), household servants for a wealthy Jewish family in Richmond.