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'Butler' will examine Civil War issues

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The New Jersey Repertory Company will present the World Premiere of “Butler” by Richard Strand. This play is a recipient of a prestigious Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award and is based on real life events that changed the lives of more than 10,000 slaves.

The play takes place at the start of the Civil War. Butler is a successful Massachusetts lawyer in civilian life just promoted to Major General and given the command of Fort Monroe, a Union hold-out in Virginia. Press notes state that “The Fort, situated in a highly strategic location between North and South, was considered by Confederate General Robert E. Lee to be a great threat to Richmond, a center of Confederate strength. By the time Butler assumed command, he was thrust into the thick of things and was already considered by his superiors to be a prickly individual who had a tendency to bend orders and to over-step authority. It is this independence of spirit that ultimately leads to the explosive situation that becomes the central event of the play. The catalyst that sets these events in motion is the unexpected appearance of Shepard Mallory, a run-away slave, who requests sanctuary at the fort. However, the law of the land at the time has not yet changed and slaves are still considered property that must be turned over to their 'rightful owners.' This is tantamount to a death-sentence and Butler is confronted with a daunting moral dilemma. “

The show is directed by Joseph Discher. Casting includes Ames Adamson, David Sitler, Benjamin Sterling and John G. Williams. The production team is made up of Jessica Parks – Set Design and Props, Jill Nagle – Lighting Design, Merek Royce Press – Sound Design, Patricia E. Doherty – Costume Design, and Michael Carroll – Technical Director, Jennifer Tardibuono – Stage Manager, and Brad Lemons – Stage Combat.

“Butler” begins preview performances at the New Jersey Repertory Theatre in Long Branch on Thursday, June 12 with Opening Night on Saturday, June 14. It runs through Sunday, July 13, 2014. The preview week schedule: will be Thursday, 8:00 pm; Friday, 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm; and Saturday, 3:00 pm. Opening Night with Reception: is Saturday, June 14, 8:00 pm. Regular Performance Schedule through July 13 is Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm; and Sundays at 2:00 pm.

For tickets and more information, visit www.njrep.org or call 732-229-3166.

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