Play Reading Planned For Saturday

CRANFORD—The Friends of the Cranford Public Library will sponsor a script-in-hand performance of “Mark Twain and the General,” a one-act musical drama, on Saturday, May 19, at 2 p.m. in the Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Avenue.

The play will be performed by the Theater Project, an acclaimed theater group headquartered in Maplewood. Written by composer Robert W. Butts and playwright Jewel Seehaus-Fisher, “Mark Twain and the General” tells the story of Ulysses S. Grant’s final battle—his struggle to complete his memoir of the Civil War while fighting cancer and impending financial disaster.

Grant is plagued by writer’s block brought on by his recollection of horrific wartime images. Enter Mark Twain, humorist, publisher and friend. The play’s music reflects the intense self-realization and playful optimism brought on by Twain’s visit, as well as the deep bond between Grant and his wife.

Dr. Robert W. Butts is a conductor, lecturer, professor, critic, and composer. He has served as conductor and Artistic Director for the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, the Opera at Florham, and the New Jersey Concert Opera. He teaches at Montclair State University and the College of Saint Elizabeth. He has conducted opera and orchestras throughout Eastern Europe and America. His compositions have been performed by leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber music ensembles, and include three chamber operas and three concertos.

Jewel Seehaus-Fisher is a two-time recipient of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Fellowship in Playwriting, a finalist in the Samuel French Festival, a two-time finalist in the Actors Theatre of Louisville ten-minute competition, and the author of full-length and short plays produced in New Jersey, New York, Florida and California.

The performance will be followed by a discussion among the director, the playwright, the composer, the performers, and members of the audience. Admission is free and all are welcome.

For more information about the Theater Project, visit

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