Chenango River Theatre Resumes Production

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From the Chenango River Theatre:

The greater Binghamton area’s only professional, non-profit theatre company has been cleared by Actors’ Equity Association, the union for professional actors and stage managers, to resume production.
While the company normally produces four shows between May and October, given the limited time left in their season, only two shows will be mounted in 2021, with the first opening Aug. 27 and the second following on Oct. 8.

The first is a show the theatre’s Artistic & Managing Director Bill Lelbach has been after for three years before finally winning the rights to produce it. Ben Butler (by Richard Strand, Aug. 27 – Sept. 19) is based on a true story. The sharply comic play takes place in the middle of the Civil War, 1861, at Virginia’s Union-held Fort Monroe under the command of General Benjamin Butler. When three escaped slaves show up seeking sanctuary, General Butler is faced with an impossible moral dilemma.

Does he follow the letter of the law and return the escapees back to the Confederacy, or make a game-changing move that could alter the course of US history? The bold and bright slave Shepard Mallory demands an audience with General Butler and what ensues is a battle of wits between two equally formidable men at the edge of a country ripped in half.

Ben Butler is a smart, funny discourse on race, protocol and our sense of humanity. It garnered high critical acclaim during its Off Broadway run in 2016. It will be CoProduced by The Raymond Corporation, Edward Jones Investments (Greene), and Pete & Karen Raymond.

The second play in this abbreviated season will be Bruce Graham’s The Craftsman (Oct. 8 – 24). Bruce is a playwright out of the Philadelphia area – CRT has previously produced several of his plays, including The Outgoing Tide, Mr. Hart and Mr. Brown, and Stella & Lou.

CRT’s production will be only the second staging for this new play that was held over in its initial Philadelphia run. An intriguing tale of ambition, genius, and deception based on the true story of Dutch painter Han Van Meegeren, whose arrest as a Nazi collaborator was a cause célèbre after World War II. A rich, reputable art dealer, Van Meegeren had sold rare Vermeer paintings, which the Dutch consider national treasures, to the Nazis. Charged with treason and on trial for his life, the petty, passionate, manipulative and charming Van Meegeren gleefully embraces his trial to seek a revenge the prosecutors know nothing about.

The Craftsman is a riveting, often humorous play that raises sweeping questions about art and artifice, lying and forgery, and hatred and revenge. It will be Co-Produced by IBM and an Anonymous Donor. Ticket prices will remain the same as they were in 2019, the company’s last season, with
Thursdays at $25 and $27 for Fri/Sat/Sun.

Tickets go on sale Aug. 1 at www.chenangorivertheatre.org, using any credit card or PayPal. Tickets can also be purchased by leaving a message with the box office starting Aug. 1: 607-656-8499. For specific information on ticket policies related to Covid, visit the company’s website.

Chenango River Theatre’s intimate, air-conditioned 99 seat theatre is just 15 minutes
north of Binghamton at 991 State Highway 12, Greene, NY. CRT operates under annual
contract with Actors’ Equity Association, the national association for professional actors
and stage managers in the United States.

Chenango River Theatre’s 2021 season is made possible in part by the
New York State Council on the Arts with the support of
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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