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Monday, May 12, 2014

New Jersey Repertory Company to present the World Premiere of BUTLER By Richard Strand

New Jersey Repertory Company, located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch, is set to present the World Premiere of Butler by Richard Strand, directed by Joseph Discher and starring Ames Adamson, David Sitler, Benjamin Sterling and John G. Williams. Butler 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 begins at the start of the Civil War and Butler, a successful Massachusetts lawyer in civilian life has just been promoted to Major General and is given command of Fort Monroe, a Union hold-out in the state of Virginia. 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.

Butler begins preview performances on Thursday, June 12 and celebrates its opening night on Saturday, June 14 at New Jersey Repertory Company (179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ), and runs through Sunday, July 13. Tickets may be purchased by calling 732-229-3166 or online at

The production team includes: Jessica Parks (Set Design & Props), Jill Nagle (Lighting Design), Merek Royce Press(Sound Design), Patricia E. Doherty (Costume Design), Michael Carroll (Technical Director), Jennifer Tardibuono(Stage Manager), and Brad Lemons (Stage Combat).

Written by Richard Strand
New Jersey Repertory Company (179 Broadway, Long BranchNJ)
Previews: June 12 – June 14, 2014
Preview week schedule: Thursday 8pmFriday 2pm & 8pmSaturday 3pm
Opening Night with Reception: Saturday, June 14, 8pm
Regular Performance Schedule through July 13:
Thursdays & Fridays 8pm; Saturdays 3pm & 8pm; Sundays 2pm

Tickets: Adults $42; Previews $35; Opening night with reception $60
Discounts are available to seniors (65+), students (full-time 13-25),
active duty veterans and groups of 10 or more.
Please ask about our Father’s Day Specials and our July 4th Specials.
Tickets are available at or by calling 732-229-3166
Discounts and coupons not valid on Saturday nights
For more information about New Jersey Repertory Company please visit

Who’s Who:

Richard Strand (Playwright) wrote his first play in 1976, a one act entitled Harry and Sylvia. That play won two national awards, was published by Hunter Press and a full-length version of that same play, entitled Clown, premiered at Victory Gardens Theater inChicago. Since that time he has had premieres at GeVa Theatre in RochesterNew York, Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, The Cricket Theatre in Minneapolis, Rivendell Theatre in Chicago, The Z Collective in San Francisco and a number of other venues. His plays are published by Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service and Applause Books. Two of his plays, The Bug and The Death of Zukasky, premiered at The Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The Bug has been translated into German, Italian, Greek, French and Spanish and continues to be performed in the United States and in EuropeTen Percent of Molly Snyder, My Simple City and The Second-Story Man were written in Iowa CityIowa where Mr. Strand was a member of the University of Iowa Playwright's Workshop. Mr. Strand currently lives in California with his wife, Mary Lynn. He is the chairman of the theater department, technical director and resident set designer at Mt. San Antonio College where he teaches History of Theater and Playwriting.

Joseph Discher (Director) recently directed and acted in The Weir at Theatreworks, where he also directed Red, and will direct As You Like It. Mr. Discher was the Associate Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey from 2002-2012 where in addition to many artistic duties, he functioned as casting director. Shakespeare Theatre of NJ directing credits include: Our Town, Henry IV, Part One, To Kill A Mockingbird, Arms and the ManThe Grapes of WrathThe Tempest, AmadeusThe Play’s the ThingCymbeline, Life of Galileo, Of Mice and Men, A Midwinter Night’s Dream, The Fantasticks, Twelfth Night, That Scoundrel Scapin, Travels With My Aunt, Much Ado About Nothing, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), Romeo and Juliet, and Brecht’s The Visions of Simone Machard. His production of Julius Caesar for The Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis broke attendance records, playing to 50,000 in three weeks. Other recent work includes directing for the Stella Adler Conservatory inManhattan. Mr. Discher is a member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers and Actors’ Equity Association. He has been a faculty member at Stella Adler Conservatory, and has also taught at TVI studios and The Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan. He is an alumnus of Drew University, and Delbarton School.

Ames Adamson (Butler) Credits for NJ Rep include: Admit OneEngaging Shaw, Tilt AngelTour de FarceOld Clown Wanted, Circumference of a Squirrel, Maggie Rose and Panama as well as numerous staged readings and participation in the Theatre Brut Festival of short plays both as actor and director. Recent regional credits include: A Most Dangerous Woman, Oliver Twist and Timon of Athens at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Arms and the Man and Martin Crimp’s adaptation of The Misanthrope at Quintessence Theatre Group in PhiladelphiaMacbeth at The Wilmaand Hamlet and As You Like It in rep at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre. 

John G. Williams (Shepard Mallory) has appeared as Alceste in The Misanthrope, Officer in Arms and the Man, Prologue inAntigone, Sganarelle in Don Juan and Lucio in Measure for Measure with Quintessence Theatre Group in Philadelphia.  In New Yorkhe has played Romeo in Romeo and Juliet with the Pulse Ensemble Theatre, Freeman in Platanos and Collard Greens with Between the Lines Productions, and Jojo in Blood Sky at the Looking Glass Theatre. He has also appeared in several commercials.  John studied theatre in New Jersey at Rutgers University, in New York at Stella Adler Studios and abroad at the London Academy of Theatre. 

David Sitler (Major Cary) was last seen in Brother Wolf at Triad Stage in NC. At NJ Rep, he was in Shelter from the Storm, tempOdyssey, and several Monday night developmental readings. Broadway: An Inspector CallsFrost/Nixon with Stacy Keach (tour), Off-Broadway: Irish Rep, Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.  Regionally from Maine to Utah in over 100 productions playing from Atticus to Scrooge including in NJ at Centenary Stage, Holmdel Theatre, Surflight, Trump Plaza, 12 Miles West, and Luna Stage. Film: Ghetto Dawg, Black Dog Red Dog, The Challenger and TV: Zero Hour, Law and Order SVU, Released

Benjamin Sterling (Lieutenant Kelly) is an actor with extensive experience performing classical theatre as well as an improvisational comedian and instructor. For the last four years, Benjamin has performed with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (As You Like It 2013, Measure for Measure 2012, To Kill a Mockingbird 2011, Shakespeare LIVE Tour 2010) and is the founder and director of the improvisational comedy show Start Trekkin NY.


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