Introducing Saja Butler, music and vocal director for "The Revolutionists" and Lois and the Lantern

Meet Saja Butler, banjo player, music and vocal director, and the sublime vocal harmonies and dynamic string band instrumentation that is Lois and the Lantern.

Who is Lois and the Lantern? How long has your band been around?

Lois and the Lantern is an all-girl string band group formed in 2013. We are considered Americana, by genre, also reaching out to bluegrass, folk, funk, punk, reggae, and original styles.

How long have you been a band? How did your band start?

We have been a band for almost 10 years, starting at our guitarist, Theresa's jams with friends at her house many years ago. Theresa and our mandolinist, Mary began playing together, then myself, Saja, banjo player, joined after sitting in a gig, then Tara, our bassist. We've been going strong ever since!

What kind of music do you create?

We create mostly originals in the genre of folk, originally each writing a song, then all of us playing our parts to create the sound. Recently we had our first collaboration in writing a song together, which is very exciting for us! It worked out really well and we are excited to continue to co-write together.

What experience do you have as a vocal and music director?

I have many years in the trade or musical and vocal direction. I started my studio 15 years ago. About 3 years in, I started teaching performance and band jam classes, which focused on arranging the song to fit the whole band, and arranging voices in harmony on songs. So, about 12 years of experience.

How does music differ from music in theatre? How are they the same?

Music in theatre and music played, or listened to, are very similar, but the main difference is emotive placement; meaning placing a certain sound bite or musical arrangement in a specific scene requires a lot more specificity in tone and feel. The Music in a theatre production has to echo a specific scene, so specific theory and chord progressions are required. When writing a song, you can come from any experience, moment, event, or emotion from any time. both are expressed with passion after that.

What is the process like in trying to get the rights to music to create a cover of a song?

The process to get rights to a cover used to be quite laborious, but these days it's quite easy to do. You simply need a mechanical license to cover a song. Keeping rights to the owner and giving you permission to play the song.

Why did you and your band feel compelled to collaborate with OST on this show?

Lois and the Lantern felt compelled to write for OST because of the great experience we had writing for OST'S production of "Sherwood" last year in 2022. Sydney Smith directed it and is a big fan of our work. The collaboration was easy and fun! And the song turned out really great, too!

What has been your favorite part about working with this cast and production team?

The easiest part about working with the cast and production team is their professionalism and kindness. They clearly expressed what they wanted Musically, which made it easy for me to deliver. And on a personal note, when my mother passed away last December in the middle of rehearsals, they were kind enough to give me the space I needed to grieve and process. Everything was submitted in time even after the time to grieve. That was MUCH appreciated.

What can we look forward to in this show?

This show has a lot of unexpected twists and turns to it, and a lot of punk inspired sound bites and the theme song! I also love the unique power each character gives to the play. Every women identified who watches the play can fully relate to the different ways to show power within the characters.

What does Lois and the Lantern have lined up in 2023 so far?

Lois and the Lantern has a lot of scheduling planned for Northern Colorado and Utah venues. We are still hammering out dates in our 2023 schedule, so please go to for all our gigs and Music!

Come see Lois and the Lanterns' harmonious sounds and the cast in "The Revolutionists" this weekend, Friday and Saturday!

By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Brenna Freestone-Gilbert
Music and Vocal Direction by Saja Butler

January 14–February 11, 2023
Playing at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre

4 Badass Women. 1 Room. Don’t lose your head! A true story. Or total fiction. A play about a play. Or a raucous resurrection… that ends in a song and a scaffold. Playwright Olympe De Gouge, Spy Marianne Angelle, Assassin Charlotte Corday, and ribbon-loving Queen Marie Antoinette hang out, murder Marat, lose their heads, and try to beat back the extremist insanity of 1793 Paris. The Revolutionists is a fiery, dream-tweaked comedy about art, activism, legacy, compatriots, chosen sisters—and how to change the world.


CONTENT WARNING: Adult themes and language. Questions about content? Contact OpenStage at 970.484.5237.

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