Gloucester Stage: Ben Butler Triumphs
By Tom Hauck
Now at Gloucester Stage Company through August 25, Ben Butler, written by Richard Strand and directed by Joseph Discher, tells the gripping story of the day in 1861—just after the South seceded from the Union and war was imminent—when three escaped slaves made their way to Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. (It helps to know that although Virginia was part of the Confederacy, Fort Monroe, located on the coast, remained in Union hands throughout the Civil War.)
This comic play with a serious message is based on real events. On May 27, 1861, Major General Benjamin Butler made his famous “contraband” decision, or “Fort Monroe Doctrine,” determining that escaping male slaves who reached Union lines would be considered contraband—that is, part of the rebel war effort—and not be returned to bondage. The order resulted in thousands of slaves fleeing to Union lines around Fort Monroe.
The cast is superb. Ames Adamson shines as the gruff but good-hearted ex-lawyer, Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler. He’s well practiced in the role—this is the third time he’s done it, and he owns the part. Butler is ably assisted by Doug Bowen-Flynn as Lieutenant Kelly, who has the thankless job of interpreting the General’s mercurial pronouncements. And David Debeck admirably portrays the hapless Major John B. Cary, the Confederate officer charged with demanding from Butler the return of the slaves.
But the story’s propulsive engine comes from Shane Taylor as Shepard Mallory, the only one of the slave trio we meet, who takes it upon himself to single-handedly convince a reluctant Ben Butler to give the slaves shelter. Malloy is the disruptor and the catalyst for change. His negotiating skills confound even the sharp legal mind of Butler, who quickly finds himself facing an opponent who knows how to alternately charm, cajole, and threaten his way to his goal.
And as a note of local interest, after the war the real Ben Butler settled in our own Bayview neighborhood, at the present-day Ames estate, and served as the 33rd governor of Massachusetts.
With a running time of about two hours plus intermission, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the drama escalates and the triumphant ending unfolds. See this engaging and insightful production before it closes on August 25.
For ticket information, call 978-281-4433, or go to http://www.gloucesterstage.com. Don’t wait!
Went kayaking on Thursday afternoon and went out to Kettle Island. Such a beautiful day with clouds and sun.
New heights – Click and Connect coming soon!
Stop & Shop 6 Thatcher Road, Gloucester, MA 01930 is adding a parcel pick up area just inside the threshold. Upon entering the store, pick up customers will turn left. Stop & Shop staff said they’re targeting September 9th for the soft launch of this new option to buy on line and then pick up and the week following as the official opening.
Coming full circle? This addition brought forth some Massachusetts memories. Does anybody else remember the grocery chain with the curbside conveyor belt? Staff packed the groceries into bags and boxes, and customers brought their car around (station wagon for us)
Yesterday, the SeaPort Veterinary Hospital had a Northern Gannet that needed transport to Tufts Wildlife Clinic in North Grafton so I decided to take a bird for a ride. The staff at SeaPort Veterinary Hospital told me this feisty Gannet was found near Zeke’s earlier in the day.
I neglected to take the time of day into account so this ride occurred during rush hour and was longer than it should have been, but the Gannet didn’t seem to mind. I put NPR on to keep him calm 😁 for the ride. He was mostly pretty quiet, just occasionally making little noises in the back. He only squawked vigorously in each facility at both ends of the trip, and it was LOUD! I decided to call him GMG Gannet.
I felt like a story circle was closing in that the Northern Gannet I reported a couple of weeks ago may or may not have survived…..I didn’t know how that Gannet made out, but this one is now safe and in good hands. Thank you staff at Zeke’s, SeaPort Veterinary Hospital and Tufts Wildlife Clinic!
92.5 the River and Bud Light present
Riverfest Seaside Music Festival
Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 12:00-6:00 PM
Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, MA
GREAT MUSIC IN A SPECTACULAR SETTING
The Riverfest Seaside Music Festival is held at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester — America’s Oldest Seaport — 35 miles northeast of Boston. The expansive, historic park overlooks stunning Gloucester Harbor — and is a fantastic venue to enjoy live music! (Take a look!)
Grab some friends and join us for this annual celebration!
GETTING TO THE EVENT
MAP & DIRECTIONS
Stage Fort Park
24 Hough Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930
Google Map & Directions
A limited number of on-site parking spots will be available on a first-come-first-served basis at the park ($20 for non-residents and free for residents with beach parking stickers). Festival attendees are encouraged to rideshare/carpool to the event, use ride hailing services (Uber/Lyft/Taxi), take alternative transportation to the event, and utilize the free shuttle service to/from satellite parking (see below).
SHUTTLE BUS & SATELLITE PARKING
The satellite parking locations below will be serviced by a free shuttle bus, provided courtesy of 92.5 the River:
■ Magnolia Woods Recreational Area , 474 Western Ave. map/directions ($10 parking, Free Shuttle)
■ O’Maley Innovation Middle School, 32 Cherry St. map/directions ($10 parking, Free shuttle)
Shuttle hours of operation: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
The shuttle drop-off/pick-up is adjacent to the The Cupboard Restaurant, 41 Hough St, right next to the festival.
Additional Satellite Parking is available at Gloucester High School, map/directions ($10 parking, No shuttle service). This location will NOT offer shuttle service, but it’s only a one mile walk to Stage Fort Park.
*Additional information about the shuttle service and satellite parking locations will be posted here as it becomes available.
MBTA COMMUTER RAIL
MBTA Commuter Rail’s Newburyport/Rockport Line services points between North Station and Rockport, with a stop in Gloucester. Check MBTA Schedules & Maps for up-to-date train schedule and service info.
If you live nearby, why not leave the car at home and ride a bicycle to the festival? After all, riding a bike is good for your health, the environment, your wallet, and your soul!
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
SHARE THE SPACE
Keeping this event free and open to the public requires us all to share the space respectfully. Feel free to bring chairs or a blanket (no plastic tarps please), but leave your umbrellas at home. Please be mindful of other attendees and our shared desire to see the stage, dance, and have a good time! The festival is held in an open park, and attendees must obey all park policies.
Stretch your legs and stroll around Stage Fort Park. Check out the booths of the various sponsors — whose support helps keep this event free for the public! To make sure you don’t miss anything, check out the 2019 Festival Map.
■ Help keep Gloucester and Stage Fort Park beautiful! Please do not leave behind cigarette butts, trash, food, etc. Put all trash/recycling in proper barrels.
■ Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in Stage Fort Park, except within the designated age 21+ area(s) specially permitted during this event.
■ Dogs and other pets must be on a leash at all times.
GENERAL VISITOR INFO
Stage Fort Park is home to a Visitor’s Center, where information and maps are available. Additionally, Discover Gloucester and the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce will be sharing a sponsor’s booth at the festival, and will be providing local information and tips!
LOST & FOUND
The Information Booth will function as a “lost & found” during the event. However, items left after the concert will be either disposed of or recycled following the conclusion of the event.
Feather & Wedge is delighted to feature Jose Allende for this week’s Jazz Brunch. Allende delivers a captivating mix of jazz standards and Latin American music featuring improvisation, South American rhythms and classical music influences.
Reservations highly suggested! 978.999.5917
Sunday, August 25
10:30 Am – 2:30 PM
Feather & Wedge, 5 Main Street, Rockport, MA 01966