Chenango River theater puts on “Ben Butler”


GREENE, NY – For the first time in 2 years, a live theatrical performance will be taking place at the Chenango River Theatre in Greene.

CRT is opening the comedy Ben Butler tomorrow evening.

The title character is a Civil War Union General from Massachusetts put in charge of a fort in Virginia.

Based on a true story, the play centers around Butler’s relationship with a witty and brash slave named Shepard Mallory who is seeking asylum in the fort.

Joel Ashur portrays Mallory in his first performance at Chenango River Theatre.

He says the two men come from very different backgrounds, yet manage to connect on a deep level.

“They discover that they have more in common than anyone else. Ultimately, they get a chance to see each other as human beings. Now, more than ever, we could use some eyes to see, see each other,” says Ashur.

Drew Kahl is Ben Butler.

The SUNY Oneonta theater professor is a veteran of CRT having appeared in its first production back in 2007 and acting in plays every year since.

He says that while Ben Butler is laugh-out-loud funny, it also tackles serious themes.

Kahl says making people both laugh and think is a hallmark of the theater company.

“The plays that we choose to do are not necessarily standard commercial fare. There’s some interesting plays that we get to do and sometimes we pick stuff that really challenges the audience to think. And sometimes we just like to make people laugh. It’s a good combination,” says Kahl.

The set was designed to mimic photos of the actual room in the fort where the real-life events took place
Chenango River Theatre is an Actors’ Equity company hiring only professional actors.

It is requiring masks and proof of vaccination for all performances except Saturday September 4th.
Ben Butler runs for 4 weekends with showtimes of 7:30 on Thursdays, Frisays and Saturdays and 2 o’clock on Sundays.

To purchase tickets, go to

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