2018-19 Season | Become a Member and save!

Community Engagement Partner:


Ben Butler by Richard Strand

Dates: Sept 25 - Oct 21, 2018

“…Part comedy, part historical drama and part biography… by turns sarcastic, droll and witty.” — NY Times
When a runaway slave demands sanctuary at a Union Army garrison, the General in charge is faced with a moral quandary: follow the letter of the law, or make a game-changing move that could alter the course of US history? Based on true occurrences that happened to General Benjamin Butler who graduated from Colby College in Maine in 1838, and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1840. During part of the Civil War, he commanded Fort Monroe.  


Ron Orbach (Ben Butler), has had a varied, distinguished career on the stage, in film, TV and voice over. Broadway: Neil Simon’s LAUGHTER ON THE 23rd FLOOR (Ira Stone, the role based on Mel Brooks, 1993). Later starred as Max Prince (the role based on Sid Caesar) in the Chicago premiere (1994), on the national tour (1995) and at A Contemporary Theater in Seattle, where he also directed (1996); CHICAGO (Also, the first Amos on the first national tour/Chicago’s Jeff Award, 1998); DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES; NEVER GONNA DANCE; SOUL DOCTOR. Off-Broadway: HARRY CHAPIN: LIES & LEGENDS, Village Gate; also, Apollo Theater Center, Chicago (Equity Card, 1983) and Pasadena Playhouse (LADCC Award, Best Ensemble, 1988); Neil Simon’s HOTEL SUITE (Roundabout); Mark St. Germain’s, THE GOD COMMITTEE (Domenick Piero/The Lambs); Shem Bitterman’s THE JOB (Martin/WPA); The Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder’s THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH (CSC). Regional Theater: Sagot, in Steve Martin’s, PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE (Old Globe, San Diego); Bretzky, in Nathan Englander’s, THE TWENTY-SEVENTH MAN (Old Globe, San Diego); Bottom in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Chicago Shakespeare Theater; 2012 Jeff Nomination for Best Actor); Tevye, in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Sacramento Music Circus); Pseudolus, in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (Denver Center); Mr. Foreman/Marlowe, in ENTER LAUGHING (Berkshire Theater Festival); David O. Selznick in the world premiere of Ron Hutchinson’s MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS (The Goodman); Multiple roles in Brickman & Ellis’s, TURN OF THE CENTURY (starring Jeff Daniels, directed by Tommy Tune); and Al in Arthur Kopit’s ROAD TO NIRVANA (Odyssey Theater Ensemble, LA Weekly Award, Best Actor, 1991) Film: Most memorable big screen performance: The DMV Tester in Amy Heckerling’s, “Clueless”. Recent TV: “Girls”. Mr. Orbach is also an acting coach and a director (LA’s Ovation Award for Jim McGrath’s THE ELLIS JUMP, 1996).   Cornelius Davidson is excited to be making his Portland Stage debut! Cornelius, originally from California, received his BA in theatre performance from Western Michigan University and his MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama. Off-Broadway credits include And She Would Stand Like This (Baby) and Everyday Afro Play (Company). Yale School of Drama credits include Dutchman (Clay), Measure for Measure (Claudio), and King John (Hubert) Cornelius can seen onscreen in I Can I Will I Did, winner of the 2017 Asian American Film Festival, and in the web series Interested In. Internationally, Cornelius studied at the British American Dramatic Academy and premiered Good Death at the Fringe in Edinburgh. He is a proud member of AEA. When not acting, Cornelius teaches literacy through drama in NYC through CUNY’s Creative Arts Team and The Leadership Program. Cornelius teaches throughout all five boroughs, and his teaching is based highly on Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Cornelius is humbled to bring young people resources to speak out against bigotry, misogyny, racism, transphobia, homophobia and to fight for all marginalized communities. Empowering students with skills to implement social justice is restorative to Hope in the worlds we all occupy. Cornelius is proudly represented by Cornerstone Talent Agency. He is deeply grateful for the unconditional support from his family—Mom, Pops, Jj, you are my world. Thank you! I’d like to dedicate this performance to Mark Schlegel, my agent, whose love, support, and encouragement will remain forever in my heart. For additional discussions, https://portlandstage.wpengine.com/discussions/

Refuge Malja ملجأ by Bess Welden, Arabic translation by Ali Al-Mshakheel

Dates: Oct 30 - Nov 18, 2018

When a Jewish-American war photographer feels compelled to assist a young refugee who steps in front of her camera,  she calls an old friend to translate but hesitates to reveal why she is so drawn to the boy. This poetic, decade-spanning drama explores how we each define and find our own malja (refuge). Affiliate Artist Bess Welden’s Refuge * Malja * ملجأ was developed at the 2017 Little Festival of the Unexpected. 


Kareem Fahmy is a Canadian-born director and playwright of Egyptian descent. He is a 2017-2018 National Directors Fellow with The O’Neill Theater Center and the National New Play Network. He has directed and co-conceived a number of world premiere productions including James Scruggs’s 3/Fifths (3LD, New York Times Top 5 Must-See Shows), Sevan K. Greene’s This Time (Sheen Center, New York Times Critics’ Pick), and Victor Lesniewski’s Couriers and Contrabands (TBG Theatre). Other: Adam Kraar’s Alternating Currents (world premiere, Working Theater), Rohina Malik’s The Mecca Tales (NY premiere, Voyage Theater Company), Nikkole Salter’s Indian Head (world premiere, Luna Stage). Kareem’s work as a playwright has been developed and produced at Noor Theatre, Rising Circle Theater Collective, The Lark, Fault Line Theatre, and The Atlantic Theater Company. He is currently adapting the seminal Egyptian novel The Yacoubian Building for the stage.  Kareem has developed plays with New York Theatre Workshop (where he is a Usual Suspect), MCC, Second Stage, Soho Rep, New Dramatists, The Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Sundance, The Civilians, Noor Theatre, Silk Road Rising, and Berkeley Rep. He is a founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for organizations and artists engaging with Middle Eastern stories. MFA: Columbia University. www.KareemFahmy.com For additional discussions, https://portlandstage.wpengine.com/discussions/

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Dates: Dec 1 - Dec 24, 2018

Celebrate the holidays with this timeless tale that embodies the season: love, family, and the spirit of goodwill. See it brought to life on-stage, with charming costumes, delightful music, and a few ghostly apparitions. This magical production is perfect for the entire family, guaranteed to warm the heart of every Scrooge. Start a family tradition of your own. For additional discussions, https://portlandstage.wpengine.com/discussions/ ASL-Interpretation for the 12pm performance of A Christmas Carol on Sunday, December 9th has been generously provided by Pine Tree Society.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Dates: Jan 22 - Feb 17, 2019

“The truth is rarely pure, and never simple.” — Oscar Wilde
What's in a name? Wilde’s masterful comedy follows a young man and his friend on a journey that leads to an unexpected discovery.  Part comedy, part mystery, this story of love, manners and mistaken identity is a classic that never grows old.  For additional discussion information, https://portlandstage.wpengine.com/discussions/

The Half-Light by Monica Wood

Dates: Feb 26 - Mar 24, 2019

A chance encounter presents a tantalizing question for a college secretary: Can anyone be trained to see the dead? Her dogged pursuit of an answer leads to a far more earthbound challenge when a colleague is felled by grief. A heartwarming drama about love and purpose that examines the ghosts that live within us all. Affiliate Artist Monica Wood is the author of PapermakerThe One-in-a-Million Boy, and When We Were the Kennedys. The Half-Light was developed in the 2018 Little Festival of the Unexpected. For additional discussions, https://portlandstage.wpengine.com/discussions/

Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau

Dates: Apr 2 - Apr 21, 2019
Artistic Perspective Sunday Apr 7
Curtain Call Sunday Apr 14

The future is thrown into uncertainty when rumors seep through a Detroit auto plant at the start of the Great Recession. A makeshift family of workers swap stories, share dreams and make tough choices. Dominique Morisseau, a noted new voice in the American theater, draws comparison to Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson, and Arthur Miller.

The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown

Dates: Apr 30 - May 19, 2019

This hit musical by Tony award-winning lyricist Jason Robert Brown deconstructs a love affair and marriage between an aspiring novelist and a struggling actress over five years.  Told almost entirely through song, this piece moves backward and forward through time weaving the beginning and the ending of a love affair.