The Ensemble Theatre Kicks Off 35-Year Anniversary Season
Patrons Prepare for the Theatre's New Season, New Look, and New Online Ticketing
HOUSTON, Aug. 30, 2011 -- The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris announces the theatre's 35th anniversary season lineup, a variety of comedies, dramas, classic, and musical productions.
"I'm excited to be approaching yet another milestone with The Ensemble Theatre," says Morris. "Our 35th Anniversary Season is filled with the power of art and the revelation of its unending manifestation in our daily lives."
Cliff Roquemore's Lotto: Experience the Dream, will kick off the season with laughter when a man wins the lottery and it brings out the eccentricity of all his family and friends. The African American Shakespeare Festival's Cinderella is back by popular demand for the holidays. Cuttin' Up, by Charles Randolph Wright gives insight to barbershops as one of America's great community institutions filled with humorous anecdotes and life lessons. This season in collaboration with the Houston Museum of African America Culture, The Ensemble Theatre will present The Ballad of Emmett Till, a jazz infused contemporary work by playwright Ifa Bayeza. The theatre will complete the August Wilson 10-play cycle with its production of King Hedley II. Season finale, Sanctified, by Javon Johnson, tells the story of a church on its last legs planning a revival as their ultimate effort to keep its doors open; plans to call upon Houston's local talent as cameo vocalists will kick off with audition clips being solicited via social networking media.
Patrons will be introduced to a new look throughout the building since the conclusion of recent facility upgrades made possible by a $400,000 grant from the Houston Endowment. The upgrades include new paint and carpeting; cabinet resurfacing; bathroom improvements; and new seats in the mainstage theatre. A collection of art work now drapes the walls through donations from Lloyd Gite and Friends. In addition to facility upgrades, the theatre has extended its box office services to include live online ticket purchasing.
Act One, the theatre's new young professionals group has a calendar of events that follow the season with pre-show mixers, private meet and greats with the cast, and a spring poetry slam. Productions from the theatre's touring education program will be expanded into a mini season of children's theatre available to families and schools.
The Ensemble Theatre's 2011-2012 Season Includes:
A middle-aged water department worker in Los Angeles wins $10 million in the lottery with numbers that came to his sister in a dream. Craziness ensues as he discovers just how quickly his new found wealth not only changes him, but his family and friends, too. Luckily, his wife remains level headed and ultimately saves them from their own follies.
Back by popular demand! The classical tale of Cinderella comes alive in this fresh interpretation filled with memorable music. This whimsical story mixes beauty and elegance with the hilarity of evil Stepsisters and, of course, a hip Fairy Godmother with a little 'diva-tude' who makes the magic happen at the Christmas Ball. An imaginary and dazzling winter tale that can be enjoyed by the entire family!
Winner of the 2009 Edgar Award, presented by Mystery Writers of America, The Ballad of Emmett Till is told through contemporary prose with the infusion of jazz. A month after his fourteenth birthday, this confident youth from Chicago, a boy on the threshold of manhood, embarks on a summer trip to Mississippi. His pursuit of happiness and liberty are pierced with the poignancy of life. The 1955 lynching of Emmett Till fell on the cusp of a saga that changed the course of the nation.
Cuttin' Up is an exploration of the African American barbershop trimmed with a series of thought-provoking and funny anecdotes, memories and music into a living oral history covering 60 years. Andre, a second generation barber decides he's had enough of the "one horse town" he grew up in and hits the road for greener pastures. He soon learns the only thing green is him. His journey ends in Cleveland, Ohio. Here he begins work for Howard, a long-time barber and shop owner who sees the shop as a communal ground where men, and the occasional woman and child, come to socialize, talk about the issues of the day, and learn about their collective history.
King Hedley II tells the story of a young man striving to make a difference in his world and those around him by planting seeds – seeds that will bring beauty to his environment and seeds that will ensure that his legacy can be carried on. Set in 1985, King Hedley II follows the characters created by August Wilson in Seven Guitars. It's a poignant story of hope and forgiveness of the common man who bears both physical and emotional scars, yet still dreams.
This hilarious gospel comedy opens a window to the African American church, gospel music, and the congregations that sustain it. East Piney Grove Church (standing on its traditions ...and its last legs) is faced with the challenge of working together in their last-ditch effort for a successful revival. Their newly appointed Pastor, in desperation, enlists the help of his cousin and self-proclaimed gospel D-I-V-A, but the church elders won't stand for it. A battle of tradition verses vision rocks the pulpit, pews, and the whole congregation!
For information regarding subscriptions, tickets and group sales call The Ensemble Theatre Box Office: 713-520-0055 or visit www.ensemblehouston.com.
The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and to enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community. The theatre is known as the only professional theatre in its region dedicated to the production of works portraying the African-American experience. In addition to being the oldest and largest professional African-American theatre in the Southwest, it also holds the distinction of being one of the nation's largest African-American theatres that owns and operates its facility with an in-house production team. Board President Emeritus Audrey Lawson led the capital campaign for The Ensemble's $4.5 million building renovations that concluded in 1997.
The Ensemble Theatre produces a main stage season of contemporary and classic works devoted to the portrayal of the African American experience by local and national playwrights and artists. The theatre's Performing Arts Education program provides educational workshops, Artist-in-Residence experiences and live performances for students both off-site and at the theatre. Through its varied programs, The Ensemble Theatre benefits an audience and artistic constituency of approximately 65,000 people annually.
CONTACT: Robert Ross (713) 807-4306 email@example.com