Ben Butler by Richard Strand

“…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.

 

STARRING

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://www.portlandstage.org/discussions/

Quick Info

Playwright

Richard Strand

Richard Strand’s career as a playwright began in 1976 when he wrote his first play, Harry and Sylvia, which was eventually adapted into the full-length version called Clown. Two of his plays, The Bug and The Death of Zukasky, published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc., premiered at the Actors Theatre at Louisville’s Humana Festival. He currently lives in California with his wife, Mary Lynn. He is a professor, technical director, and set designer at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, where he teaches Stagecraft, History of Theater, and Playwriting.

Cast & Artists