top of page

DramatikerMatthew Lopez


The Inheritance

=== ''The Whipping Man'' ===

Lopez’s breakout play ''The Whipping Man'' debuted at Luna Stage<ref></ref> in Montclair, New Jersey in 2006 and premiered in New York at the [[Manhattan_Theatre_Club|Manhattan Theater Club]]<ref></ref> in 2011, directed by [[Doug Hughes]] and starring [[Andre Braugher]] and [[André Holland|Andre Holland]]. The off-Broadway production of ''The Whipping Man'' extended four times, and won Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards. Lopez won the John Gassner New Play Award for his writing. 

''The Whipping Man'' is set in Richmond, Virginia in the immediate aftermath of the [[American_Civil_War|American Civil War]] and concerns two recently freed slaves encountering their former master.  The former slaves, like their former master, identify as Jewish.  The play examines the unique occurrence of [[Passover]] in 1865 beginning the day after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at [[Battle_of_Appomattox_Court_House|Appomattox]].  It explores the meaning of freedom and the various ways people are enslaved—to addictions, to prejudices.

In his ''New York Times'' review<ref></ref>, Charles Isherwood called the play “emotionally potent, almost surreal in the layers of meaning it conjures.” Braugher and Holland both earned critical acclaim for their performances.

Between 2012 and 2016, ''The Whipping Man'' was one of most widely produced plays in America<ref></ref>.

=== ''Somewhere'' ===

''Somewhere'' was first performed at the [[Old_Globe_Theatre|Old Globe]]<ref></ref> in San Diego in 2011, before moving to Hartford Stage<ref></ref>. The play, featuring a majority Latinx cast, concerns a theatrical family living in Manhattan in 1959, as [[West_Side_Story|West Side Story]] captured the zeitgeist.  The proposed construction of [[Lincoln Center]] and the ensuing demolition of their neighborhood leaves the family to fight for their home and their dreams.  ''Somewhere'' was directed by Giovanna Sardelli, and featured his aunt Priscilla Lopez. Critics lauded the production, comparing Lopez’s writing to Tennessee Williams’ ''[[The Glass Menagerie]]''.<ref></ref>

The story of ''Somewhere'' has roots in Lopez’s family history; his father was an extra in the 1961 film adaptation of ''West Side Story'', and appears on screen in the playground, just after the prologue<ref></ref>

=== ''Reverberation'' === 

Lopez’s next play ''Reverberation'' premiered at Hartford Stage<ref></ref> in 2015, directed by Maxwell Williams and starring [[Luke Macfarlane]]. The story follows Jonathan, a young gay New Yorker, who spends increasingly more time hold up in his Astoria apartment following a violent attack that has left him afraid to go out into the world. He is befriended by his new upstairs neighbor, Claire, a Holly Golightly-like character who, despite her active social life, is just as afraid and lonely as Jonathan. The play examines how violence – against women, against the LGBTQ community – impacts the lives of those both directly and indirectly affected by it. Charles Isherwood of the ''New York Times'' writes<ref></ref> that “the play is marked by a perceptiveness about the echoing loneliness that many urban dwellers live with.”

=== ''The Legend of Georgia McBride'' ===

''[[The Legend of Georgia McBride]]'' debuted at [[Denver_Center_for_the_Performing_Arts|Denver Center of Performing Arts]]<ref></ref> in 2015, and premiered off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre<ref></ref> in 2015. The play tells the story of Casey, a down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator who is induced to turn his jumpsuits into dresses and become a drag queen. The play toggles between quippy comedy and show-stopping dance numbers, with Charles Isherwood commenting<ref></ref> that the play was “full of sass and good spirits – along with a spritz or two of sentimentality.” 

In February 2018, New Regency announced it was developing the film adaptation of the play in association with[[Jim Parsons']] production company.<ref></ref>

=== ''The Inheritance'' ===

In 2018, Lopez debuted his two-part play ''The Inheritance'' at the Young Vic Theatre in London, before transferring to the [[Noel Coward Theatre]] on the West End. The production was directed by [[Tony Award|Tony]] and [[Emmy Award]] winner [[Stephen Daldry]]<ref></ref>. 

Set in New York three decades after the height of the [[AIDS epidemic]], ''The Inheritance'' wrestles with what it means to be a gay man today, exploring relationships and connections across age and social class and asking what one generation's responsibilities may be to the next. The play is a loose adaptation of [[E.M. Forster]]’s novel ''[[Howards End]]''.  The premiere featured a cast that included [[Vanessa Redgrave]], [[John Benjamin Hickey]], and [[Paul_Hilton_(British_actor)|Paul Hilton]] as Forster himself.

The play received widespread critical acclaim.  The ''[[Daily Telegraph]]'' hailed it<ref></ref> as “perhaps the most important American play of this century” and ''The [[Evening Standard]]'' declared<ref></ref> the play “a work of rare grace, truth, and beauty.”  

''The Inheritance'' earned eight nominations at the [[2019 Laurence Olivier Awards]], including Best New Play. Lopez received the [[Evening_Standard_Theatre_Awards|Evening Standard Award]] <ref></ref>and [[Critics Circle Theatre Award]]<ref></ref> for Best New Play as well.


bottom of page