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`Daytrips' Is Up Next At The Ensemble Theatre; Begins July 15 thru August 8, 2004; Play journeys through the heart and soul of families confronting Alzheimer's

See change in Opening Night Price

HOUSTON, June 16, 2004 -- An encore presentation of Daytrips has been added as The Ensemble Theatre's 2004 Mainstage Season finale, opening on July 15 and continuing through August 8, 2004, at The Ensemble located at 3535 Main Street, midtown. The Ensemble's critically acclaimed presentation of the play in 1992 also won audiences over, with its powerful blend of drama and humor to portray a compassionate love story of three generations of mothers and daughters confronting the onset of Alzheimer's. Written by Jo Carson, "Daytrips", is a semi-autographical play that has garnered serious attention in theatrical and medical circles. The play won the Kesselering Award for Best New American Play in 1989, and has played all over the United States, including Off Broadway, while it has continued to capture the hearts and souls of audiences.

Writer Jo Carson is most renowned as a playwright. Her other theatrical works include Whispering to Horses, which won an AT&T Onstage Award, one of five given in this country yearly; Preacher with a Horse to Ride, a play set in a Kentucky mining town during the 1930s, which won a Roger L. Stevens Award from the Fund for New American Plays in 1993; The Bear Facts, a tale of the loss of the frontier centered on Davy Crockett, which won Carson a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Veteran artist, Wayne DeHart, directs this production of "Daytrips" and a superb cast featuring Ensemble favorite actresses, Bebe Wilson, reappearing in the play -- but in the role of the daughter diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Shirley Whitmore as her feisty mother, Osunbumi Gaidi (last seen in Sundown Names and Night-Gone Things) as Wilson's daughter, and Shanica McKinney from The Ensemble's hit musical "Crowns", narrating as the daughter's alter ego. Previews for "Daytrips" begin July 10th until July 14th. Other highlights of the play's run will include audience talkbacks and forums in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Association of Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter. For information regarding tickets and group discounts, call The Ensemble Theatre Box Office at 713-520-0055 ext. 306.

Founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins, The Ensemble Theatre has brought several generations of African Americans and other theatre patrons into the performance art form.

The mission of The Ensemble Theatre is to preserve African American artistic expression, enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community.

The Ensemble is a 501(c)(3) theatre that holds the distinction as the nation's largest African American theatre that owns and operates its own facility and produces a Mainstage Season of 5-6 contemporary and classic works devoted to the portrayal of the African American experience by local and national playwrights and artists.

In addition, The Ensemble's Tour Education Program provides performances for young audiences including schools, community outreach, and training for young artists through The Young Performers Program.

The Ensemble Theatre's $4.5 million facility includes the George Hawkins main stage with seating for 200 patrons, the Audrey Lawson Arena seating up to 125, and a performance centre accommodating up to 500 people. The Theatre's most recent accomplishment occurred on January 1 when the theatre celebrated two major milestones: the retirement of its $360,000 debt remaining from its $4.5 million capital campaign, and the dedication of METRO commuter rail stop named in the theatre's honor.

 Running Times and Prices
 Previews:  8:00 pm Saturday July 10; 3:00 pm
            Sunday July 11; 7:30 pm
            Wednesday July 14.
            Prices:  $12 adults/$10 students/seniors 65+

 Opening Night:  Thursday, July 15 7:30 p.m.
                 ** $25 adults/students/seniors 65+

                 Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
                 $15 adults/$10 students/seniors 65+

                 Fridays and Saturdays 8:00 p.m.
                 $20 adults/$15 students/seniors 65+;

                 Sundays 3:00 p.m.
                 $18 adults/$10 students/seniors 65+
CONTACT:  The Ensemble Theatre
          Phyllis J. Bailey 
          (281) 438-0985

          Janette Cosley
          (713) 520-0055, ext. 311