The Ensemble Theatre Continues to Play On!
Theatre Announces New Show in Season and Introduces a Sixth Show to Build on the Excitement of a Healthy Season
HOUSTON, March 11, 2004 -- The Ensemble Theatre is proud to announce the attainment of the rights to "Crowns," Regina Taylor's critically celebrated musical play that uses the hats African-American women wear to church as a means to explore their rich history. "Crowns" will be replacing "Black Woman's Blues" on The Ensemble's George Hawkins main stage season calendar. Regina Taylor played Lilly Harper on the television series "I'll Fly Away," and won a NAACP Image Award, was nominated for an Emmy Award and received the Golden Globe Award for Best Leading Dramatic Actress.
"Crowns" is adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry. This production presents several unique opportunities for The Ensemble Theatre. It enables The Ensemble to join an elite group of theatres nationally to present the play in its first run in the regionals, since its Off-Broadway run. Secondly, it is the first African-American theatre, and only theatre of The Ensemble's size to present the regional production of this work this season. Critics rave that "Crowns" is a soul-stirring, hip-swaying spectacular that turns the black-and-white images of the Michael Cunningham-Craig Marberry book on which it's based into a pastiche of dance, music, and storytelling, brimming with joy and vitality, delightful! "Crowns" at The Ensemble Theatre March 20 thru 24 for previews and runs March 25 thru May 2, 2004. Bebe Wilson will direct "Crowns." This production is made possible by a generous donation from Duke Energy.
"We are very excited about adding this show to our season because it enables The Ensemble to go back to offering six plays per season, after reducing our season to five plays as a result of the September 11 tragedy. And, based on the already great response from our subscribers and corporate donors to the addition of Crowns, we made a decision to run the play for eight weeks instead of five weeks," stated producing artistic director Marsha Jackson-Randolph.
Another change in the season is that The Ensemble will extend its current season to include a sixth show, "Daytrips" by Jo Carson. Born in 1946 in Johnson City, Tennessee, Jo Carson is an accomplished author of short stories, poetry, essays, and plays based on the everyday life of people from Appalachia. "Daytrips" works in a gentle, comically offhand manner, telling the wandering tale of the relationship between a daughter, mother, and grandmother. It broaches a sensitive subject with honesty and familiarity. The subject is Alzheimer's disease, and the toll that it exacts on a family is not minimized. Directed by Wayne DeHart, "Daytrips" is a powerful, compassionate piece that deals with the dailyness of a family love story, and the resilience of relationships. Join us as The Ensemble Theatre presents "Daytrips" July 10-14 for previews and runs July 15 - August 8, 2004.
"Building on the excitement of a new year that entails the recent retirement of our capital debt, the inaugural celebration of the METRO Rail station bearing our name, the wrap of the well-received Black history production From the Mississippi Delta, and increased corporate support, we are pleased to be in the financial position to provide more theatre for our loyal patrons. These additions also provide more work opportunities for our artists in a weak economy, while providing our subscribers, tourists and visitors to Houston with a production during the summer months," stated executive director Janette Cosley.
The Ensemble Theatre will showcase The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) generously underwritten by BP America. This work is described as a brazen parody of all 97 plays for lovers of comedy and improvisation. Shakespeare, directed by Ed Muth, previews May 29 to June 2, 2004; and begins its run June 3 until June 27, 2004. This play has a PG13 rating. For information regarding tickets to a performance and group sales, call The Ensemble Theatre Box Office at 713-520-0055 x 306.
Founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins, The Ensemble Theatre has brought a whole generation of Black theatregoers into this visual art form. The mission of The Ensemble Theatre is to preserve the African American artistic expression, enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community. The Ensemble is considered the largest theatre that presents a full season of classic and contemporary in-house productions, devoted to works representing the African American experience by local and national playwrights and artists. Also, The Ensemble provides touring and in-house performances for young audiences, community outreach, and training for young artists through The Young Performers Program. The Ensemble has the distinction of owning and operating its own facility, boasting a main stage auditorium with seating for 200, an arena stage that seats 125, and a performance hall that accommodates 500 people.
CONTACT: The Ensemble Theatre Phyllis J. Bailey (281)-438-0985 Janette Cosley (713) 520-0055, ext. 311