Local News: The Ensemble Theatre Announces 2010-2011 Season

Posted by: Outreachon 2010/5/14 5:20:00 1537 reads Packed With Regional Premiers, Comedies, Classics, and Musicals

HOUSTON, 2010 -- The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris announces the theatre's 34th Season entitled: "Spotlighting the Spectacular: Energizing Art with Imagination." This season offers a variety of five regional premiers, musicals, comedies, and classics. A new addition to the season lineup includes two Black Box mini performances that will be staged in the Audrey Lawson Arena...

"I believe the imagination fuels our journey through life and how we experience the world around us. We humbly offer our interpretation of these spectacular stories that bring us together in laughter and reflection," says Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris.

A collaborative relationship with the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston (MOCAH), as well as, artists John Biggers, Ted Ellis, and Charles Washington has allowed The Ensemble Theatre to expose audiences to some of Houston's visual arts within the season brochure.

"An extension of visual artistic expression will be spotlighted in our season brochure with images we feel embody the essence of each production," says Morris. "I appreciate having the opportunity to work with other artists and arts organizations to provide unique experiences for our patrons and subscribers."

The Ensemble Theatre's 2010-2011 Season Includes:

The Waiting Room
By Samm-Art Williams
Directed by Eileen J. Morris
PG / Comedy
George Hawkins Mainstage

September 18 – October 17, 2010
Opening Night Media Reception September 23, 2010

Laughs fly fast and furious in a most unlikely setting, a hospital waiting room where friends and family gather to learn the fate of patriarch Pullen Innes who has just fallen ill. Facing one's own mortality has compelled many to get right with God, yet the temptation to backslide is only a breath away. The Innes family struggles to keep their decorum and their sanctity when a shocking family secret is revealed. This funny test of faith almost makes them forget what they came to the hospital for in the first place. Their lives will never be the same!

Cinderella
By the African American Shakespeare Company
Directed and Choreographed by Patdro Harris
Musical Direction by Carlton Leake
General Audiences/ Musical
George Hawkins Mainstage

November 13 – December 26, 2010
Opening Night Media Reception November 18, 2010

The classical tale of Cinderella comes alive in this fresh interpretation by the African American Shakespeare Company. 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!

Gee's Bend
By Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder
Directed by Elizabeth Van Dyke
PG/ Drama
George Hawkins Mainstage

January 29 – February 21, 2011
Opening Night Media Reception February 3, 2010

Gee's Bend celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. It's based on the true story of the women of Gee's Bend, Alabama and the magnificent quilts they create which The New York Times has called "some of the most miraculous works of modern art American has produced." Infused with hauntingly beautiful gospel music, these women use quilting to provide comfort and context to their lives. They survive through segregation, family turmoil, and the Civil Rights Movement one stitch at a time.

Jitney
By August Wilson
Directed by Eileen J. Morris
PG/ Drama
George Hawkins Mainstage

March 26 – April 24, 2011
Opening Night Media Reception March 31, 2011

Set in 1977, Jitney tells the story of a group of men in Pittsburgh's Hill District who drive unlicensed "gypsy" cabs that for years have served as a vital means of transportation for many in Pittsburgh and other urban centers. The men must ban together in their struggle to earn a living and respect as the changing world of urban redevelopment threatens their livelihood with demolition. They must overcome their personal conflicts to form a sense of solidarity against a backdrop of diminishing opportunities.

Black Box Mini Shows

Hi-Hat Hattie: The Story of Hattie McDaniel
By Larry Parr
Directed by Bebe Wilson
PG/ Comedy/ Drama
Audrey Lawson Arena (Black Box)

May 1 – May 8, 2011
Opening Night Media Reception May 5, 2010
Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for her portrayal of Mammy in "Gone With The Wind" and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for radio and one for film. She was subsequently attacked by the NAACP and members of her own race for "selling out" and helping to perpetuate stereotypes. In spite of her adversities she carried on as a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority and served as Chairman of the Negro Division of the Hollywood Victory Committee that provided entertainment to troops during World War II. It is her life, a musical biography, told from her perspective, and for the first time, we can understand her plight.

No Child *Rights Pending
By Nilaja Sun
Directed by Eileen J. Morris
PG/ Comedy/ Drama
Audrey Lawson Arena (Black Box)

May 15 – May 22, 2011
Opening Night Media Reception May 20, 2010
No Child is a hilarious and touching effort to shed light on the New York public school system. It offers an insightful look at the teachers, students, administrators, janitors, and security guards who inhabit our schools and shape the future of America. * Rights Pending

Blues in the Night
By Sheldon Epps
Directed and Choreographed by Patdro Harris
Musical Direction by Carton Leake
PG/ Musical
George Hawkins Mainstage

June 18 – July 24, 2011
Opening Night Media Reception June 23, 2011

These twenty-six sweet, sexy and sorrowful Blues songs tell the story of three women's relationships with one snake of a guy. The interweaving stories are defined through music alone - and what legendary music to be heard! Ranging from Bessie Smith through Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen, Alberta Hunter, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox and more, the evening's music is raunchily forthright, infectiously good-humoured and always classically blues. Songs include "When A Woman Loves A Man," "Wasted Life Blues," "Lover Man," "Wild Women Don't Have The Blues," and the gripping, compelling title song that spotlight the essence of blues music.

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.