Ken Butler News

Ben Schwartz Debuts with THE DRIFT OF THINGS
by BWW News Desk - Jul 15, 2014

MANCHESTER, N.H., July 15, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) In 2008 Ben Schwartz-a young New Hampshire English and special education teacher-decided it was time to get that first novel written. He entered Southern New Hampshire University's low-residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction program, and wrote that novel-'The Drift of Things'-as his thesis. Last month 'The Drift of Things' was named the Silver Medal Winner in the Piscataqua Press's 2014 Novel Contest, one of three manuscripts plucked from some 120 submissions. And as quickly as that-in a world that now includes print-on-demand publishing-Schwartz's novel is available from Piscataqua. 'We're all very happy for Ben,' said novelist/essayist Benjamin Nugent, the director of Southern New Hampshire's MFA program. 'And we're looking forward to books by other alumni coming out soon from presses like Viking and Da Capo.' While at Southern New Hampshire, Schwartz worked primarily with novelists Katherine Towler ('Snow Island') and Merle Drown ('The Suburbs of Heaven') in crafting his story of a middle-aged man who has blamed himself for the drowning death of his best friend in high school, and who then returns for his mother's funeral to the town from which he has exiled himself. 'Funny, smart, unpredictable, and true, 'The Drift of Things' is that rare book in contemporary fiction, one with both heart and intelligence,' wrote Katherine Towler in her response to the finished work. 'Ben Schwartz has delivered a cast of characters so real you expect to find them watching TV in the living room. In a beautifully-crafted story about what remains broken and yet healed in all of us, Schwartz has established himself as a writer to watch.' Schwartz's story marks the latest publishing success for an MFA program that was founded in 2006 by historical novelist Robert Begiebing and that has only recently reached its full complement of 65 students and 15 faculty members. Begiebing's vision involved a two-year program-with 'Go Write Your Book' as its motto-in which students would immediately apply themselves to the completion of a publishable, professional-level manuscript, as Schwartz did. Though the program's alumni community remains small, there were some immediate post-graduate successes: 'If I Told You So' by Timothy Woodward '08, a novel that came out from Kensington in 2012; and 'Lost and Found Hanoi,' a work of photojournalism co-authored by Elizabeth Rush '11, which came out from the Things Asian Press earlier this year. But now the floodgates are open, as a number of new alumni have recently turned their theses into book contracts, some with large commercial houses. Pratima Cranse '12 has a so-far-untitled novel in the works from Viking. 'The Trees Beneath Us,' a novel by Darren R. Leo '13, will initiate a new literary line of fiction from the Stark House Press. And Charlie Stella '13 is co-authoring a biography, 'Dogfella,' due out from Da Capo. Other Southern New Hampshire alumni have novels on the production line at several small presses like Piscataqua. 'The Holy Fool' by Ken Butler '12 is forthcoming from the Touchstone Press; 'They Call Me Crazy' by Kelly Stone Gamble '12 from Red Adept Publishing; 'Fallen' by Mike Hancock '08 and 'The Keepers of Mercia' by James Marino '09, both from Black Rose Writing. 'This is a hard thing to do, taking your very first attempt at long-form fiction or nonfiction and getting it published,' said Nugent. 'But we're proving now that we can make Bob's go-write-your book model work. At the very least, our students are leaving the program with stories that have a fighting chance in the marketplace, and the skills to write more.' Nonetheless, Nugent said, he and his faculty are moving to diversify the program by also offering a curriculum track for those who want their MFA work to simply prepare them to write that first novel or nonfiction narrative-rather than to require writing it immediately. 'We think some students would benefit more from being able to experiment,' Nugent said. 'This would involve, for example, trying out lots of short stories or essays and throwing them out, or trying out a few novel or memoir ideas, and finally settling on one and getting it started. Students will still complete a thesis, but the parameters will be more flexible.' (more...)

Muhlenberg College to Present JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, SEUSSICAL & More this Summer
by BWW News Desk - Apr 24, 2013

The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre festival at Muhlenberg College announces the lineup for its 2013 summer season - the 33rd in the festival's history. The season will feature "Crazy for You," the musical based on the music of George and Ira Gershwin; Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Jesus Christ Superstar"; and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's "Seussical," the Dr. Seuss musical for young audiences. (more...)

THE TEMPEST Opens at New American Shakespeare Tavern, 1/4
by BWW News Desk - Jan 26, 2013

The Atlanta Shakespeare Company at The New American Shakespeare Tavern presents The Tempest, directed by Laura Cole, January 4-27, 2013. (more...)

Photo Flash: First Look at Atlanta Shakespeare Company's THE TEMPEST
by BWW News Desk - Jan 13, 2013

The Atlanta Shakespeare Company at The New American Shakespeare Tavern presents The Tempest, directed by Laura Cole, now through January 27, 2013. (more...)

THE TEMPEST Opens at New American Shakespeare Tavern Tonight
by BWW News Desk - Jan 04, 2013

The Atlanta Shakespeare Company at The New American Shakespeare Tavern presents The Tempest, directed by Laura Cole, tonight, January 4-27, 2013. (more...)

THE TEMPEST Opens at New American Shakespeare Tavern, 1/4
by BWW News Desk - Dec 16, 2012

The Atlanta Shakespeare Company at The New American Shakespeare Tavern presents The Tempest, directed by Laura Cole, January 4-27, 2013. (more...)

Photo Flash: First Look at Old Globe's SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
by BWW News Desk - Feb 06, 2012

The Old Globe today announced principal casting for the Globe's 2012 Shakespeare Festival. Craig Noel Award winner Jay Whittaker returns to the Festival for his third consecutive season to appear in the title role of William Shakespeare's Richard III. He will also appear as Oliver in Shakespeare's As You Like It. Also returning to the Festival are Craig Noel Award winner Robert Foxworth and Adrian Sparks, who will take to the courtroom floor as titanic lawyers Henry Drummond and Matthew Harrison Brady, respectively, in the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee classic Inherit the Wind. Foxworth, an Old Globe Associate Artist, will also play Lord Hastings in Richard III, and Sparks will play Lord Mayor of London in Richard III and Corin in As You Like It. Festival veteran Dana Green will star as Rosalind, and Dan Amboyer, new to the Festival stage, will play Orlando, the object of her affections, in As You Like It. Green will also play Queen Elizabeth in Richard III. Amboyer will also be featured as Bertram Cates in Inherit the Wind and the Earl of Richmond in Richard III. Festival newcomer Jacques C. Smith will play Jacques in As You Like It, the Duke of Buckingham in Richard III and Mr. Meeker in Inherit the Wind. Adrian Noble returns for his third outing as Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Festival and will helm As You Like It and Inherit the Wind. Renowned British director Lindsay Posner makes his debut at the Globe with his production of Richard III. Noble recently directed the World Premiere stage version of The King's Speech, which is currently touring England, and Posner's hit revival of Noises Off is currently playing at London's Old Vic and will transfer to the West End in March. The 2012 Shakespeare Festival, performed in repertory in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, runs June 3 - Sept. 30, 2012. (more...)

PSU Presents THE TEMPEST, 11/20 - 11/28
by BWW News Desk - Nov 28, 2009

Portland State University School of Fine and Performing Arts and the Department of Theater present William Shakespeare's The Tempest, november 20 - November 28. The production is directed by William Tate and Carolyn Holzman. All performances will take place at Artists Repertory Theatre, Morrison Stage. (more...)

PSU Presents THE TEMPEST, 11/20 - 11/28
by BWW News Desk - Nov 20, 2009

Portland State University School of Fine and Performing Arts and the Department of Theater present William Shakespeare's The Tempest, november 20 - November 28. The production is directed by William Tate and Carolyn Holzman. All performances will take place at Artists Repertory Theatre, Morrison Stage. (more...)

PSU Presents THE TEMPEST, 11/20 - 11/28
by BWW News Desk - Oct 13, 2009

Portland State University School of Fine and Performing Arts and the Department of Theater present William Shakespeare's The Tempest, november 20 - November 28. The production is directed by William Tate and Carolyn Holzman. All performances will take place at Artists Repertory Theatre, Morrison Stage. (more...)

Shakespeare Theatre Of NJ's THE TEMPEST Offers Pre-Performance 'Know The Show' Talkback 7/2
by BWW News Desk - Jul 02, 2009

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey continues its annual summer tradition of family theatre 'under-the-stars' with William Shakespeare's magical and mysterious romance The Tempest directed by Joe Discher. (more...)

Shakespeare Theatre Of NJ's THE TEMPEST Opens 6/27
by BWW News Desk - Jun 27, 2009

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey continues its annual summer tradition of family theatre 'under-the-stars' with William Shakespeare's magical and mysterious romance The Tempest directed by Joe Discher. (more...)

Shakespeare Theatre Of NJ Continues 'Under-the Stars' With THE TEMPEST 6/24-8/2
by BWW News Desk - Jun 02, 2009

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey continues its annual summer tradition of family theatre 'under-the-stars' with William Shakespeare's magical and mysterious romance The Tempest directed by Joe Discher. (more...)