The Board of Directors of Rubicon Theatre of Ventura has appointed Ovation, NAACP and Garland Award-Winner Chris Butler as the company’s new Associate Artistic Director.
Butler returns to Rubicon having previously received acclaim for his portrayals of Caesar Wilkes in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and Randle P. McMurphy in Dale Wasserman’s adaptation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Most recently, he helped narrate and performed in the company’s livestream presentation of “Voices of America: Songs and Stories of Conflict, Crisis, Hope and Healing.”
Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Butler received his B.A. in Dramatic Arts from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his M.F.A. in Acting from the University of California, San Diego.
Upon graduation, Butler move to Los Angeles where he began working as an actor in television, film and theatre. He has appeared in nearly 50 films and television series. He had a recurring role on all seven seasons of CBS’s “The Good Wife” as well as its spin off “The Good Fight,” “Designated Survivor,” “True Blood,” “Major Crimes” and “24.” He has also been a series regular on TNT’s “King and Maxwell” and several pilots. Butler has guest-starred recently on “Law & Order SVU,” “NCIS Los Angeles” and “Modern Family.”
On Broadway, Butler played Noah in the Tony nominated production of 110 in the Shade starring Audra McDonald. He won Ovation, NAACP and Garland Awards in Los Angeles for his work in Yellowman at The Fountain Theatre and Stick Fly at the Matrix Theatre. Butler spent four seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where he played the title role in Othello and Walter Lee in A Raisin in the Sun, among many others.
In addition to Associate Artistic Director duties in the areas of play selection, casting, production oversight, acting, directing and community relations, Butler will also be responsible for new play development and guiding the company’s renewed and expanded commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
Says Butler, “Over the years I have admired Rubicon’s dedication to sharing diverse stories and making thought-provoking program choices. And I have experienced, first-hand, the company’s expansive casting practices.”
According to Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns, “Our very first statement of vision and goals more than 20 years ago expressed the founding board’s commitment to artists of different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs and abilities; and to producing works by underrepresented playwrights. The intent was conveyed through reinvented, reimagined productions of classics that address current issues; 20th century plays such as Gem of the Ocean, Driving Miss Daisy and Master Harold…and the Boys;” and premieres like The Baby Dance: Mixed, La Razón Blindada, eXtras, and Women Beyond Borders.”
“We know these productions have engendered meaningful dialogue and have helped create greater understanding and compassion in our region,” continues Burns. “But in these troubled and tumultuous times, we know, too, that we can and mustdo more – to actively fight racism and to inspire change – in ourselves, our community, and our world.”
“Change starts with leadership,” says Burns, “and Chris is a person of great strength and integrity. We are incredibly fortunate to have him at the helm of this effort.”
Says Butler, “I look forward to interfacing between artists, audiences, donors and board members to build and implement a plan and hope to take the organization to new and exciting places.”