Farmers Alley Theatre
Farmers Alley Theatre
Meet Scott V. Norman - Q & AStar of THE WHIPPING MAN - Feb 8-24
The powerful dramatic play, THE WHIPPING MAN opens one week from today, FEBRUARY 8th.  A perfect show for this time of year, THE WHIPPING MAN is sure to stir up conversations, make its audiences members ask questions they never though of, and leave you thinking about the show days later.

Farmers Alley Theatre is so lucky to have professional actor SCOTT V. NORMAN to come in from his home in Detroit to portray, JOHN.  In fact, this is Scott's 3rd time playing this role in Michigan!  He has had a fascinating career and has some wonderful things to say about Kalamazoo.  Please read on and welcome SCOTT V. NORMAN to the Farmers Alley Theatre family.


* How did you get into acting in your early career?

Well, if we're talking EARLY early, my mom will tell you that I used to put on puppet shows in kindergarten and elementary school, but I don't remember that. I first remembered auditioning for a school pay in fourth grade, and really enjoyed doing school plays in elementary school, and later doing skits at church in my teen years. I thought I wanted to be a priest but now realize I was only attracted to wearing a cool costume and performing in front of an audience. I only started to take acting seriously as an adult when I returned from teaching English in Japan. All my students insisted that they wanted to see me on stage or on TV for some reason, so I looked into it when I got home, and rekindled that childhood interest.

* What would you consider a highlight of your acting career?

I can pick out two meaningful highlights in my journey as an actor. One was when a role rewritten for me. It was flattering to have the author watch me work, and decide to tweak the role to fit my style of performance. The other was the chance to play a role I really connected with and grew from. That role just happened to be this role I'm playing at Farmers Alley: John, in THE WHIPPING MAN, at another theater.

* Tell us a little about your character in THE WHIPPING MAN, John.

John is a bit of a lost soul. Embittered and resentful about his life of enslavement and mistreatment, he is confused about how to handle his newfound freedom at the end of the Civil War, and he makes some really bad choices as a result. What I like most about this character, is that you can see aspects of him in the modern day. Actually, all of the characters in THE WHIPPING MAN have modern day counterparts. 150 years after the Civil War, there are STILL people who don't know what to do with this gift we call Freedom, don't recognize its significance, and don't know how to treat others as equals.

* You've played the role before.  What differences and/or challenges come with mounting a new production with a new creative staff?  Why did you choose to revisit the play?

Well, as I said before, playing this role was a highlight in my acting career. Actors often finish a show wondering if we rehearsed enough, if there was any part of the character we could have played better, or known more about. Doing this show again gives me the opportunity to find out more about John, or to play parts of him I discovered, but couldn't incorporate into the last production. Part of the challenge of doing it again is coming to it fresh - I have some preconceptions and feelings about JOHN that can hinder me from adapting him to THIS production.

* What should Kalamazoo audiences expect when they come see THE WHIPPING MAN?

Please don't come with any expectations. Come with an open mind, and ready for an experience. That's what I think theater should be: An experience. I hope that audiences come away with new questions about themselves and the society we live in - and maybe even with a few new answers, too.

* How have you enjoyed your time in Kalamazoo?

I LOVE ME SOME KALAMAZOO! Being from New York, I'm still a bit unfamiliar with the Midwest - despite living in Detroit the past 9 years. "Kalamazoo" was always just a lyric in a song my mom used to sing. (And, STILL sings whenever I call to tell her about the town! She seems to think she has a gal here.) I love how well the town has maintained the old fashioned vibe, while still adding some modern attractions. Downtown is great to walk around, and the railroad tracks and buildings take me back to a time when big bands would have stopped in town to play on their way to another gig in Chicago or Detroit. I just wish we could do something about this lake effect snow. I will definitely be back in town for the warmer weather.

SCOTT V. NORMAN (far right) rehearses a scene with fellow actors Rico Bruce Wade (left) and Ben Reigel (center).


THE WHIPPING MAN opens February the 8th and runs through the 24th.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the Farmers Alley Theatre Box Office at 269-343-2727 or by visiting our website at


Scott V. Norman first studied acting with Broadway director, Gene Frankel in New York City where his was born and raised. He began his professional acting career when he moved to Detroit 9 years ago. He has performed at various venues in Southeast Michigan including Performance Network, Detroit Repertory Theatre, and Planet Ant. He can also be seen in feature films such as Detroit Unleaded, and Street Kings 2: Motor City. Norman first played the role of John in The Whipping Man in a joint production between the Jewish Ensemble Theatre and Plowshares Theater Company, where he is now the managing director.
Farmers Alley Theatre
Farmers Alley Theatre
221 Farmers Alley
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007
Farmers Alley Theatre