Ben Butler draws to a close

Ben Butler is coming to a close. This is the last weekend (October 20, 21, and 22). Get

Photo by Michael Brunk /

Photo by Michael Brunk /


This show provided a number of firsts for BAT. The first time we did a thorough dramaturge page HERE. The first time in quite a while that BAT did a show based on an actual historical event. And, of course, it was a Northwest premiere.

BAT knew it wanted to produce this show as soon as we read the script. But that was no easy thing.

When BAT read the script it was in manuscript. That is, the author had not sold it to a punishing house. BAT dealt first with the author, then his agent. We were getting close to a deal to produce the show, sometimes called getting the rights to the show, and then there was a bidding war between a couple of publishing houses for the script. BAT was put on hold until all of that was worked out.

In that tradition, there was a small re-write of the show. BAT waited to get that version, so you could enjoy the best script possible.

Then there was casting. BAT’s first director and two of the four actors had to drop out of

Photo by Michael Brunk /

the project for very good reasons. But that left BAT scrambling. As is, Ben Butler came out better than BAT had hoped, so these changes, although stressful at the time, made for a great show.

Early on, BAT put a copy of Ben Butler into BALL, Burien Actors Lending Library, located at Bumbershoot Books.

Ben Butler played to rave reiews HERE, and it was also the first theater production that the Burien Clulture Hub reviewed, HERE.

Photo by Michael Brunk /

Ben Butler was also the first script read by BAT’s script club, which meets once a month in the afternoon at Merrill Gardens in Burien. Get more information here. The members of the script club who came to see Ben Butler were very impressed and BAT is looking forward to their feedback at the next meeting of the script club.

Then BAT tired some new marketing ideas. The jury is still out on those. As those of you who come to BAT’s shows know, BAT produces better live theater. But, how to get the word out? BAT is always trying new things.

This time we took short plays to a couple of places outside of BAT’s home space. BAT also

Photo by Michael Brunk /

tried so new ad placements. What BAT could use is a volunteer to help with marketing and/or track outcomes. Maybe in due time.

So, what was the takeaway? Ben Butler a comedy about the Civil War and slavery is an a mazing show, almost impossible to describe, especially when the script is placed into the hands of BAT’s director, actors, and creative team. If you saw Ben Butler, you know what I mean. If you missed the show, you missed THE show.

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