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Matthew Lopez Books In Order

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Publication Order of Plays Books

The Whipping Man (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Inheritance (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Matthew Lopez is a critically acclaimed playwright and screenwriter best known as the author of “The Whipping Man.” The work is one of the most produced plays in the United States in recent times. The play made its debut at the Montclair, NJ, Luna Stage and was also acted out at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York. Starring Andre Braugher and produced by Doug Hughes, it had sold out performances and its production was extended four times. The play would ultimately win the Lucille Lortel and Obie awards and ran more than 100 performances off Broadway. The New York Outer Critics Circle awarded Matthew Lopez a John Gassner Award. The play has also been critically acclaimed abroad and been produced more than forty times across the globe. Lopez is also the author of the TheatreWorks Palo Alto produced work “Somewhere.” His work “Reverberation” premiered at the Hartford State company in 2015. His other works include “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” and his most popular and most recent work “The Inheritance.” The latter which is based on “Howards End” by EM Forster won eight nominations at the Olivier Awards in 2018 and made its debut at London’s Young Vic Theatre in 2018.

Lopez started out as an actor before he became a playwright. He had been a professional thespian and had started acting as a seven year old. When he went to college in Florida, he decided to pursue acting and finally pursued it as a career when he landed in New York. Still, there was a part of him that was already burnt out from acting and since he had once taken a playwriting course in his junior year he decided to try his hand at writing. He soon discovered that he loved staying at home writing than he was going to auditions, dance class and vocal lessons. It was a very definite yet subtle shift in his priorities and over time he grew in confidence. He began showing what he had written to colleagues and friends from whom he got the encouragement he needed to continue writing and finally quit acting to become a playwright. He believes there is something ephemeral about stage acting that many actors find alluring though he never felt it himself. He liked how definitive writing was even as he sees a play grow in development and production. Matthew also loved the ownership aspect of writing a he gets to own all his work as opposed to acting.

“The Whipping Man” which was his breakout work in 2006 was his breakout work and remained his most popular work until it was surpassed by the 2018 published work “The Inheritance.” “Somewhere” another of his popular works is the story of a Latin family resident in Manhattan in 1960. The demolition of their neighborhood to pave way for the construction of the Lincoln Center leaves them in a tough struggle to save their dreams and home as gentrification threatens to invade. The story was inspired by real life events in his own life when his father acted a similar story as a thespian in “West Side Story” in 1961. The critically acclaimed story that was produced by the Old Globe and featured Priscilla Lopez his aunt was lauded and compared to “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. Lopez still works producing plays for the likes of South Coast Rep, Hartford Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club and Roundabout Theatre Company. He also adapted “Your Face Tomorrow” trilogy by Javier Maria and was a staff writer for the HBO Produced “Newsroom.”

“The Whipping Man” by Matthew Lopez is the story of a wounded confederate soldier coming back home to Richmond after the end of the Civil War to find a much changed home. His family mansion lies in ruins and everything is crumbling to dust. He cannot find his family anywhere as they seem to have left in a hurry to seek a safer place. The only people left are two of their former slaves Simon and John who can barely find anything to eat. Caleb the confederate soldier has been badly wounded but he will not go to the hospital to get help. The only remedy available to him is to get Simon and John to amputate his leg. The characters not only have to deal with physical scarring and suffering but their identities are also changed forever. The enslaved now find themselves free while the new poor were formerly rich. Caleb is the son of a prosperous Jewish family that had made sure their slaves followed the Jewish religion. John and Simon had remained faithful to the teachings but Caleb no longer seems to practice the faith. Together, the three men try to make sense of their new world with secrets and tension coming to the fore. All the men are badly broken and conflicted and the readers get a mind provoking insight into life in the post war era.

Matthew Lopez’s “The Inheritance” is a two part play that was adapted from EM Forster’s classic novel “Howards End.” However, it is a far larger work that provides an all encompassing view of what it means to live a gay man. It tells of the relationships that can exist and what we have inherited from the generations that came before. It also asks what responsibilities we owe to each other. It also charts the destruction of a country’s soul and how the recently franchised and the disenfranchised deal with life when the safety net they had been depending on is torn or shown to have been a mirage. The lead in the novel is Eric Glass a man that does not understand just how remarkable of a man he is. He spends much of his time trying to make something of his life. The work is about the people he loves, the people he knows and how he deals with the intersection and interaction of all these aspects.

Matthew Lopez’s “The Legend of Georgia McBride” tells the story of a broke young man whose landlord is at the door. He just learned that his wife is pregnant and things only get worse when he is sacked from his job as an impersonator of Elvis at the small town bar in Florida. The owner of the bar found a B-level actor to replace him and Casey discovers that there is a lot he does not know about the show business and about himself. Lopez writes amazing one liners and a play full of heart and character.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Matthew Lopez

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