Who was Ben Butler – Ben Butler history 3 of 8

Who Was Ben Butler?

Benjamin Franklin Butler (Nov. 5, 1818 – Jan. 11, 1893) was truthfully more of a

Major General Benjamin F. Butler

civilian and politician than a military man. Born in New Hampshire and raised in Massachusetts, he was a successful lawyer who left a somewhat controversial Civil War legacy. Butler was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1840 and served terms in both the House of Representatives and Senate of the Commonwealth during the 1850s. Despite having had no formal military training, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General of the Massachusetts Militia in 1855. In 1859, Butler had voted for Jefferson Davis to be the next President of the United States. He was a Democrat but also believed in the supremacy of the Constitution of the United States. He therefore was eager to lend his services to the aide of Washington, D.C. and the Union cause.

By April of 1861, tensions were extremely high: Fort Sumter had been captured by rebel forces, eight southern states had seceded from the Union, and it was feared that Maryland, a slave state surrounding the capital city, would secede as well. In May, General Butler and his troops from Massachusetts were some of the first to come to the defense of Washington, D.C. Butler had stationed his troops in Baltimore to help prevent any further riots from occurring (a violent clash between civilians with Confederate flags who attacked Federal troops on April 19th had resulted in the deaths of nine civilians and four soldiers). On May 14th, Butler, now in charge of the Department of Annapolis, issued a proclamation stating, “no flag, banner, ensign, or device of the so-called Confederate States, or any of them, will be permitted to be raised or shown in this department.” Continue reading

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May 1861 – Butler history 2 of 8

May 1861

Political and Military Events – Adapted from The Civil War Almanac, John S. Bowman, ed.

May 1st: Union soldiers killed in the April 19th Baltimore Riots are honored at Come see Ben Butlerceremonies in Boston, Massachusetts; In the Nebraska Territory, a call for volunteers to support the Union is publicized; Confederal troops under Colonel Thomas Jonathan Jackson are sent to Harper’s Ferry, Virginia by Robert E. Lee for its strategic value to the southern cause; Union warships capture two Confederate ships in the Atlantic Ocean and the Navy continues to blockade the South, now including the mouth of the James River in Virginia.

May 3rd: President Lincoln sends out a call for 42,000 army and 18,000 navy volunteers; The Department of the Ohio is formed and would be commanded by George B. McClellan; General-in-Chief Winfield Scott explains his idea of strangling the Confederate states via naval blockades in what would be known as the Anaconda Plan; The Confederacy has sent commissioners to London, England to meet with the British Foreign Minister in the attempt to gain recognition for their government. The Union complains to the British Ministry about the meeting although it is an unofficial one, according to the British, who are not interested in upsetting their relations with the United States.

May 5th: State troops abandon, temporarily, the city of Alexandria, Virginia, which lies across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

May 6th: The Arkansas state legislature votes 69-1 in favor of secession; Tennessee votes to set a public referendum on secession for June 8th. In the state’s legislature, a vote finds 66-25 are in favor of secession; Jefferson Davis gives approval to the Confederate Congressional bill declaring war between the United States and the Confederate States.

May 7th: Major Robert Anderson of Fort Sumter fame is assigned to recruit troops for the Union cause in Kentucky and West Virginia; Knoxville, Tennessee is the site of a riot between pro-secessionists and pro-unionists, resulting in injuries and one fatality.
May 9th: The USS Constitution and steamer Baltic prepare to set up the United States Naval Academy at Newport, Rhode Island since Annapolis, Maryland is no longer stable enough to be stationed there; James D. Bullock is charged with purchasing arms and vessels from the British for the southern cause; the Virginia blockade precipitates gunfire between the Confederate Batteries on shore at Gloucester Point and the Union vessel Yankee. Continue reading

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The Confederate Constitution and Slavery – Butler history 1 of 8

The Confederate Constitution and Slavery

Many people in the 19th Century believed that slavery would die out naturally. For most of

Jefferson Davis, “President” of the Confederate States of America. Davis, like many others, wanted to preserve slavery in the southern states and extend it westward.

his own life, President Abraham Lincoln believed the institution would be abandoned without war. To this day, historians still argue whether slavery would have died out or if it would indeed have been extended to the Pacific Ocean if the southern states had won. From the very text of the Confederate Constitution, there appears to be no intention of leaving slavery behind:

The Confederate States may acquire new territory…. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

Confederate Constitution, Article 4, Section 3, Clause 3

The Confederate Constitution was adopted on March 11th, 1861. Many argued (and still argue) that the war was not about slavery, but rather about states rights. In truth, the southern cause was to break up the United States and preserve states rights to own slaves, thus attempting to perpetuate that terrible institution far into posterity.

 

By: Will Sullivan

#BATBurienBenButler

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Looking for female Anne Cratchit for The Christmas Carol Rag

The actors in theis role has suffered an unrealted injury and must drop out, so BAT is seeking actor to play Anne Cratchit in the musical comedy The Christmas Carol Rag.

Burien Actors Theatre is seeking an actor of any race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression and physical/mental ability to play Anne Cratchit, age 28-40, in the irreverent musical comedy The Christmas Carol Rag, written by Norman Allen with musical arrangements by Howard Breitbart and featuring a female Scrooge. Actor does not have to be in the age-range indicated, but must be convincing as someone in that age range. The show will be performed Nov. 24 through Dec. 17, 2017 at Burien Actors Theatre.

SYNOPSIS: A delightfully irreverent take on the Dickens classic, set in the ragtime music world of rough-and-tumble New York, circa 1911. Ebenezer Scrooge has been recast as an embittered woman named Evelyn who runs her sweatshop with an iron fist, but slowly opens her heart when visited by a sarcastic Jewish Ghost of Christmas Past and a blunt Gospel-singing Ghost of Christmas Present. With Joplin-like syncopation, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future carry the miserly Mrs. Scrooge from the tough life of immigrant tenements to the amber glow of the Gilded Age. A funny and moving show that puts a new twist on a holiday classic with rousing production numbers featuring music of Irving Berlin and George M. Cohan like The Streets of New York.

Anne Cratchit, age 28-40, is a hard-working and practical woman and wife of the impoverished foreman Bob Cratchit. As with most of the roles in the show, Anne Cratchit doubles with another character: Miss Scrooge, who is the younger and still innocent Mrs. Scrooge. Both are driven, determined, and making the best of the life they have. Alto (roughly G3 to E5). Continue reading

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Rapture, Blister, Burn auditions!!!

Auditions for comedy Rapture, Blister, Burn

Is the grass always greener?

Gwen stayed at home, supported her husband and raised some children.

Catherine went the academic route, published several books on feminist issues, and is a speaker and teacher.

These two women went to college together, and after a reunion more than a decade later, each looks at the other’s life with envy. Looking back at turning points in their own lives, they can’t help but wonder if they could have been better off. Through a feminist theory class, their individual viewpoints clash and they begin to wonder if, just like a Disney movie, there might not be some way they could trade places.

Burien Actors Theatre (BAT) is thrilled to be casting Gina Gionfriddo’s Pulitzer finalist play Rapture, Blister, Burn. This play is a keen, clever, sharp-eared comedy with big discussions about serious topics.

Performances are at BAT in Burien from Feb. 16 through March 11 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Rehearsals begin Jan. 2 at BAT and will be some combination of four nights a week from Sunday through Thursday, exact days to be determined, until tech week.

The directors are Barbara Cawley and Beau M.K. Prichard.

$100 stipend provided, plus free on-site parking at BAT.

Auditions are Sunday, Sept. 17 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 18 from 7 to 10 p.m. Callbacks will be Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. If any of these dates is problematic for you, don’t let it stop you–please let us know.  Continue reading

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BAT’s 2017 Gala

Enjoy fabulous food, drink and theatrical performances at Burien Actors Theatre’s Gala Party & Show on Saturday, Sept. 16.

From 6 to 9 p.m., be among the first to get a sneak peek into BAT’s 2017-18 season during this kick-off to Burien Actors Theatre’s 38th season of better live theater. Experience BAT’s fantastical music, comedy and drama, plus backstage tours, special giveaways, delectable food and beverages.

Admission is just $15 for the entire event, including food, drink and entertainment. BAT requests people RSVP to rsvp@burienactorstheatre.org or 206-242-5180 by Sept. 14 so BAT has a head count for ordering food.

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Ben Butler

Based upon historical events, the comedy-drama Ben Butler at Burien Actors Theatre is a unique look at a key decision in the Civil War. Performances of this Northwest premiere, written by Richard Strand, run Sept. 29 through Oct. 22.

Two quick-witted men, one black and one white, and their innate stubborness radically change the course of history and the purpose of the North’s cause in the U.S. Civil War. Ben Butler is based upon historical events.

It’s the first week of the American Civil War and Major General Benjamin Butler has been placed in command of the Union outpost Fort Monroe in Virginia, which has just seceded from the United States. Three escaped slaves arrive seeking sanctuary despite the Fugitive Slave Act, which requires fugitive slaves be returned to their owners. Among the fugitives is Shepard Mallory, a man unlike any Butler has ever met. The play skillfully balances pathos with well-crafted humor as the educated and stubborn Mallory challenges the equally stubborn Butler to “see things differently.”

This unique look at a key decision in the Civil War is part comedy, part historical drama and part biography, often all at once, and sometimes none of those. A simultaneously thought-provoking and sidesplitting story of equality and the politics of race in America that drew rave reviews at theaters back East. Northwest premiere.

Get your tickets online: Ben Butler, or send an email with your request to: tickets@burienactorstheatre.org

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

REVIEWS

From the B-Town Blog: http://b-townblog.com/2017/10/03/review-bats-ben-butler-is-a-witty-and-eye-opening-historical-comedy/

From the Burien Culture Hub: http://burienculturehub.com/content/review-ben-butler-bat

From the WestSide Seattle/Highline Times: https://www.westsideseattle.com/highline-times/2017/10/03/theatre-review-burien-actors-theatre-brings-thought-provoking-play

 

THE CAST, DIRECTOR AND DESIGNERS

Stage director Rachel Rene directs the talented cast of Michael Mendonsa (Major General Benjamin Butler), Sharif Ali (Shepard Mallory), Mark Fox (Lieutenant Kelly) and Dave Tucker (Major Cary). Michelle Rodriguez is the show’s stage manager.

Designers for the show are: Albie Clementi, set; Zanna Paulson, lighting; Cyndi Baumgardner, props; Maggie Larrick, costumes; Eric Dickman, sound; Mark Fox with John Lynch, fight choreography; Scott Hille, scar prosthetics; and Gavin McLean, dialects.

Show dates and times:

Friday, September 29, 2017 8pm – Opening Night Party!
Saturday, September 30, 2017 8pm – Half Price Saturday
Sunday, October 1, 2017 2pm – $7 Sunday
Friday, October 6, 2017 8pm
Saturday, October 7, 2017 8pm
Sunday, October 8, 2017 2pm
Friday, October 13, 2017 8pm
Saturday, October 14, 2017 8pm
Sunday, October 15, 2017 2pm
Friday, October 20, 2017 8pm
Saturday, October 21, 2017 8pm
Sunday, October 22, 2017 2pm
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BAT’s Script Club takes off

BAT’s Script Club is getting ready for its first meeting! BAT’s very own Faith will be leading the meeting!

What is a script club? It’s more fun than people should be allowed to have without paying a cover charge! Imagine a book club, but with scripts. At BAT’s Script Club, we will be reading the scripts BAT is producing, plus many more. BAT’s own playwrighting group, Seattle Playwrighting Studio, may also contribute scripts to read!

BAT’s Script Club’s first meeting is on Thursday, September 21, 2017, from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, in the Activity Room at Merrell Gardens in Burien.

The first script the Script Club will be reading is Ben Butler, that is BAT’s opening production of its 2017-18 season. This is your chance to get to know the play before you see it on stage! Next month there will be a differant play to read and discuss!

If you plan on joining BAT’s script Club, please email BAT at info@burienactorstheatre.org, we’ll answer your questions, and let you know how to get a copy of the script. We must know you are going to attend, so there are enough supplies for everyone.

Faith would like everyone to have read the script by the time the Script Club meets!

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Seeking female actor of color and another female actor for musical comedy The Christmas Carol Rag

Burien Actors Theatre is seeking a female actor age 20-45 of color and any gender identity, gender expression and physical/mental ability to play the Gospel-singing ghost of Christmas Present in the irreverent musical comedy The Christmas Carol Rag, written by Norman Allen with musical arrangements by Howard Breitbart and featuring a female Scrooge.

BAT is also seeking a female actor age 20-35 of any race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression and physical/mental ability to play the ghost of Christmas Past.

Actors do not have to be in the age-range indicated, but must be convincing as someone in that age range.

The show will be performed Nov. 24 through Dec. 17, 2017 at Burien Actors Theatre.

SYNOPSIS:  A delightfully irreverent take on the Dickens classic, set in the ragtime music world of rough-and-tumble New York, circa 1911. Ebenezer Scrooge has been recast as an embittered woman named Evelyn who runs her sweatshop with an iron fist, but slowly opens her heart when visited by a sarcastic Jewish Ghost of Christmas Past and a blunt Gospel-singing Ghost of Christmas Present. With Joplin-like syncopation, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future carry the miserly Mrs. Scrooge from the tough life of immigrant tenements to the amber glow of the Gilded Age. A funny and moving show that puts a new twist on a holiday classic with rousing production numbers featuring music of Irving Berlin and George M. Cohan like The Streets of New York.

The ghost of Christmas Present is an ageless, Gospel-singing, joyous spirit who is  fabulous but firm. As with most of the roles in this show, Christmas Present doubles with another character: Ruthie, who is age 20-45, an immigrant worker in Scrooge’s sweatshop, a kind soul. Mezzo soprano (roughly A3 to F#5).

The ghost of Christmas Past is an ageless Yiddish-spouting spirit. As with most of the roles in the show, Christmas Past doubles with other characters: Agnes, who is age 20-35 and a Jewish immigrant in Scrooge’s sweatshop, and Edie, who is age 20-35 and a struggling playwright. All are skeptical, with a sharp wit and playfully blunt. Mezzo soprano (roughly A3 to F#5). Continue reading

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Ben Butler a little history

Ben Butler (TICKETS) takes place on May 23, 1861. That was just the very first few weeks of the Civil Come see Ben ButlerWar. In the early days of the war, nobody knew how long the war would last. Most people thought (or at least hoped) it would all be over by Christmas. Also, at this point in the war, no major land battles had been fought. The first major engagement (The Battle of Manassas/Bull Run) happened in July of 1861. In May, not very many of the soldiers had even seen a major fight, even those who graduated from West Point.

Not only had very few ever been in a battle, fewer had ever thought of emancipating the slaves in the southern states. In fact, many had never even seen a person of color in their life. The actions at Fort Monroe on May 23, 1861, are unique as they are the first instance of involving the fate of slavery within the wartime conversation.

It’s a particularly interesting episode because it is not completely one thing or another. It’s not completely an action meant to free the slaves nor promote abolition as a main cause of the war, nor is considering slaves to be contraband completely just a legal action only for punishing the southern slave owners. Ben Butler’s decision really did three major things:

1) Gave the states in rebellion some ground that they were recognized as a foreign enemy (Virginia says it has left the Union, Butler then responds with their own words that if they’ve left the Union then they are enemies and therefore are not protected by the laws of the United States, and Lincoln doesn’t necessarily want Virginia or any seceded state recognized as enemy countries since his main objective is to preserve the Union, so in fact Lincoln isn’t completely thrilled with Ben Butler);

2) Gave abolitionists in the North that believed the true cause of the war to be slavery a moment to say aha! and pushed Lincoln and the administration in Washington, D.C. harder to emancipate the slaves. The declaration, however, didn’t free the slaves, and most slaves that entered the custody of the Union Army at Fort Monroe worked as laborers. It was a catalyst to a situation that would only really begin to change two years later; and

3) Provided Ben Butler with at least one good action to his name. He was extremely unpopular for the rest of the war, possibly the rest of his life, really.

Fort Monroe, where the play Ben Butler takes place, was constructed for military use in 1819 after the British forces had come through Hampton Roads with little to no resistance and ended up capturing burning the capital during the War of 1812. The area was and still is a strategic point of defense. It took 15 years to build, at first by slave labor and then by military convicts. Figures such as Ben Butler, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis had at one point or another visited the Fort. Here’s a link to a great site on the history of the Fort.

Special thanks to Will Sullivan for this post.

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