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CONTACT:  Robert Ross
May 18, 2015
(713) 807-4306/ 713-520-0055
 
 
For Immediate Release
   

The Ensemble Theatre Announces Its 2015-2016 Season

HOUSTON, May 18, 2015  -- The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director, Eileen J. Morris, announces the theatre's 2015-2016 season that will include four regional premieres, and a variety of comedies, drama, and musical productions.

“Each of the shows this season explores characters dealing with conflicts that are resiliently yet sometimes flawed in their resolution, says Morris. “I believe the love, healing and exploration of historic moments in these stories will bring us closer to our individual and collective sense of humanity and leave us feeling changed in some way.”

The season kicks off with a regional premiere comedy, Plantanos Y Collard Greens by David Lamb, and explores the woes and wonders of intercultural dating; next is a revival of the holiday musical, Stepp Stewart’s A Soulful Christmas, the story of two children who are taken on a musical journey of soulful holiday songs one magical Christmas Eve; the Pulitzer Prize winning classic drama Fences by August Wilson, is the sixth play in his 10-play cycle and tells the story of one man’s struggle with the pressures of being Black and the changing times of 1960s spirit of liberation driving a wedge of fear and anger between him and his wife and son; Detroit ’67, a regional premiere by Dominique Morisseau, finds hot Motown hits spinning in a brother and sister run after-hours club where the arrival of a mysterious stranger causes tensions to boil just as the city erupts into its own frenzy; the regional premiere romantic comedy Plenty of Time, by John Shevin Foster follows a couple through the ages of their illicit love affair torn by social status and politics; and Satchel Page and the Kansas City Swing, a regional premiere drama with music by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan pays a jazz infused homage to the heroes of Negro League Baseball, many of whom crossed color lines and created some of the most memorable rivalries in baseball history.

"We are excited about our 39th season bringing us closer to the dawn of a new decade for The Ensemble Theatre,” says Morris. “The growth of our institution along with the surrounding community each passing year reveals more about the vision of our late founder George W. Hawkins, and the best is yet to come.”

General Auditions for the 2015-2016 Season will be held Friday, June 26 and Saturday, 27, 2015 at The Ensemble Theatre 3535 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002. Additional information and to schedule an audition appointment contact: Kedrick Brown, Artistic Assistant: theensemblecasting@gmail.com.  

The Ensemble Theatre will honor celebrity guests, a rising star, and corporate and community supporters for their commitment to advancing the arts, during its Annual Black Tie Gala, Saturday, August 15, 2015, at the Hilton Americas- Houston. The gala is the largest fundraising event dedicated to the annual support of the theatre.

The theatre's 13th Annual Golf Tournament is Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the Northgate Country Club golf course. The tournament raises funds to support the theatre’s youth and educational initiatives including its touring education, artist in residency, and young performers training program.

The Ensemble Theatre's Touring Education program is a mini season of children's theatre available to families and schools. The Young Performers Program includes week-long sessions during spring and winter breaks, and two month-long regular sessions during the summer.

Act One, the theatre's community of young professionals, will host a series of networking mixers, including two events in collaboration with other Houston Area young professionals: a  February Black History Month Mixer, and an April, National Poetry Month showcase entitled:  Drama-try[tree]: A Night of Dramatic Poetry at The Ensemble.

The Ensemble Theatre's 2015-2016 Season Includes:

Platanos Y Collard Greens
PG/ Contemporary Comedy/ Regional Premiere

Written By: David Lamb
Directed By: Rachel Hemphill Dickson

Previews: Sept. 19, 20, 24
Opening Night: Sept. 24, 2015
Runs:  Sept. 24 - Oct. 18, 2015

Plantanos Y Collard Greens is a thought-provoking romantic comedy about Freeman, an African American man and Angelita, a Latino woman who fall in love and find themselves caught in the midst of stereotypes, prejudice, and urban myths held by their family and friends.  Their budding love beautifully swirls in the context of hop-hop, humor, and satire to impel the audience to evaluate pervasive and outrageous viewpoints as each one is cleverly shot down and poetically and justly exposing them as misrepresentations of reality.
                                   

Stepp Stewart’s A Soulful Christmas
Adapted by Patdro Harris and with additional music by Carlton Leake

G/ Musical Revival

Written by: Stepp Stewart
Directed/ Choreographed by: Patdro Harris
Musical Direction by: Carlton Leake

Previews: Nov. 14, 15, 18
Opening Night: Nov. 19, 2015
Runs: Nov. 19 – Dec. 30, 2015

This African American tale is the story of two children who are taken on a musical journey one magical Christmas Eve. Watch as they discover the rich history of their culture through music and dance. Join them as they go back in time and enjoy all of your favorite Soulful Christmas tunes, performed in the style of the artist that made them famous. You will feel like a little kid again when you hear: The Jackson’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” "Go Tell It On The Mountain" - Mahaila Jackson, "This Christmas" - Donny Hathaway,  "Silent Night" - The Temptations, and more. “Stepp Stewart’s A Soulful Christmas is definitely a play for the entire family to enjoy!”

Fences
PG-13/ Drama/ Classic/ Revival

Written by:  August Wilson
Directed by: Eileen J. Morris

Previews: Jan. 23, 24, 27
Opening Night: Jan. 28, 2016
Runs:  Jan 28 – Feb. 28, 2016

In this powerful and dramatically compelling work that won August Wilson the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play, Troy Maxson is a strong man, yet hardened by life in an America where to be proud and black was to face pressures that could crush a man, body and soul. But the 1950s are yielding to the new spirit of liberation in the 1960s. It’s a spirit that is changing the world and Troy Maxson has learned to deal with it the only way he can…a spirit that is making him a stranger - angry and afraid in a world he never knew and to a wife and son he understands less and less.

Detroit ‘67

PG-13/ Drama with Music/ Regional Premiere
Written by: Dominique Morisseau

Directed by: Eileen J. Morris
Previews: Mar. 19, 20, 23
Opening Night: Mar. 24, 2016
Runs: Mar. 24 – Apr. 17, 2016

It’s 1967 and almost every single Motown released has made the charts, yet the world is changing around Chelle and Lank,  who run an after-hours club in the basement of their late parents’ house. Tensions mount when the siblings discover that their dreams have diverged, and their tight-knit community is threatened by the arrival of a mysterious outsider, while the city around them erupts in violence. This powerful play that unfolds at an explosive moment in our history - the race riots that ravaged the city of Detroit in 1967 – are set to a vibrant soundtrack of Motown hits of the day.

Plenty of Time
PG-13/ Contemporary Romantic Comedy/ Regional Premiere

Written by: John Shevin Foster
Directed by: Eileen J. Morris

Previews: May 7, 8,11
Opening Night: May 12, 2016
Runs: May 12 – June 5, 2016

What Happens when a spoiled, southern debutant and a Black Panther Fall in love? It is 1968. Corey and Christina meet in Oak Bluffs – a black section of Martha’s Vineyard. Christina is 17 years old and from an upper class family. Corey is 22 and a member of the Black Panther Party. Despite their obvious differences they are sexually attracted and share a passionate night together and resolve to continue their affair over the span of 33 years. Each time they return to the small private beach house, they bring with them their personal growth and experiences, as well as the influences of black militarism, feminism, Vietnam, and AIDS on the sometimes radical, stagnant, social and political changes for African-Americans.

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing
PG-13/ Drama with Music/ Regional Premiere

Written by: Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan
Directed/ Choreographed by Patdro Harris
Musical Direction with Original Songs by Carlton Leake


Previews: June 25, 26, 29
Opening Night: June 30, 2016
Runs: June 30 – July 31, 2016

Kansas City jazz filled nights awakened to the cracks of baseball bats as change for Black Americans seemed enticingly close in 1947. Satchel Paige and many other all-stars flourished in Negro League Baseball, and Jackie Robinson has just integrated major-league baseball. It’s a snapshot of America in extraordinary times at the verge of extraordinary change. This story celebrates the triumphs and humanity of these players as business men and family men who are best described in Satchel Paige’s quote "Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching."

For information regarding subscriptions, tickets, group sales, and other theatre programing 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. Thirty-eight years later, the theatre has evolved from a small touring company to one of Houston’s finest historical cultural institutions.
The Ensemble is one of a few professional theatres in the region dedicated to the production of works portraying the African American experience. The oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest, it holds the distinction of being one of the nation’s largest African American theatres owning and operating its facility and producing in-house. 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 has fulfilled and surpassed the vision of its founder and continues to expand and create innovative programs to bring African American theatre to myriad audiences.


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