The Ensemble Theatre Announces Its 2014-2015 Season

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| Source: The Ensemble Theatre

HOUSTON, May 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director, Eileen J. Morris, announces the theatre's 2014-2015 season entitled: Anchor of Inspiration with four regional premieres, including a variety of comedies, a drama, and two musical productions.

"This season we are taking a moment to explore how theatre inspires us," says Morris. "Each story anchors our thought to some universal appeal that exposes us to new perspectives, challenges us to think in different ways, or brings about the opportunity for dialogue."

The season kicks off with a regional premiere comedy, Women in the Pit, by Joyce Sylvester, and addresses the age-old controversial issue of women in the pulpit; next is the holiday musical, A Soulful Christmas, by Stepp Stewart, the story of two children who are taken on a musical journey of soulful holiday songs one magical Christmas Eve; the regional premiere Fly, by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan tells the story of the Tuskegee Airman who flew during World War II and made historic contributions toward the desegregation of the American military and furthering the cause of civil rights; What I Learned in Paris by Best-Selling Novelist Pearl Cleage is a regional premiere and romantic comedy about a divorcee empowered by the women's liberation movement and her relationship with her politically ambitious ex-husband trying to avoid a scandal; the regional premiere comedy of Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking, by Gus Edwards finds two men with a history of rivalry yet drawn to the same park bench and tell tall tales intertwined with the truths of getting older, staying relevant, and getting along; and Trav'lin - The New 1930s Harlem Musical, book by Gary Homes and Allan Shapiro tells a heart-warming story of three New York couples playing the game of love in the 1930's using the jazz-infused score of Harlem Renaissance composer J.C. Johnson and friends.

Auditions for the new season will be held Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28, 2014 at The Ensemble Theatre 3535 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002. Additional information and to schedule appointments contact: Kedrick Brown, Artistic Assistant: theensembletheatrecasting@gmail.com.

"A legacy of artists as well as individual and corporate supporters helps sustain The Ensemble Theatre as a place of business, entertainment, and education," says Morris. "We are inspired by the community we serve, and enjoy being the oldest anchoring artistic institution in the Midtown Houston Cultural Arts & Entertainment District."

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 16, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Houston. The gala is the largest fundraising event dedicated to the annual support of the theatre.

The theatre's 13th Annual Golf Tournament is Monday, October 20, 2014 at the Northgate Country Club golf course. The tournament raises funds to support all 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 2014-2015 Season Includes:

Women in the Pit
PG/ Comedy/ Regional Premiere
By Joyce Sylvester
Directed by Eileen J. Morris

Previews: Sept. 13, 14, 17
Opening Night and Media Reception: Sept. 18, 2014
Runs: Sept. 18 - Oct. 12, 2014

Folks of Mount Zion Baptist Church are pretty riled up! Two deacons and two elders charged with the selection of a new pastor are at odds with one another when it appears that the most qualified candidate is a woman! This exciting story addresses the age-old controversial issue of women in the pulpit!

A Soulful Christmas
G/ Musical
By Stepp Stewart
Directed and Choreographed by Patdro Harris
Musical Direction by Carlton Leake

Previews: Nov. 8, 9, 12, 13
Opening Night and Media Reception: Nov. 14, 2014                                                                
Runs: Nov. 14 – Dec. 21, 2014

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 within the music, dance, and culture. 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: Santa Claus is coming to town, "Go Tell It On The Mountain" - Mahaila Jackson, "This Christmas" - Donny Hathaway, "Silent Night" - The Temptations, and more. Exciting fun for the whole family!

Fly
PG/ Drama/ Regional Premiere
By Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan
Directed by Allie Woods

Previews: Jan. 24, 24, 28
Opening Night and Media Reception: Jan. 29, 2015
Runs: Jan. 29 - Feb. 22, 2015

Fly celebrates the lives of the courageous and dedicated Tuskegee Airman who flew during World War II. Travel with these determined young men who made historic contributions toward the desegregation of the American military and furthering of civil rights. These heroic military pioneers landed a phenomenal place in history.

What I Learned in Paris
PG-13/ Comedy/ Regional Premiere
By Pearl Cleage
Directed by Eileen J. Morris

Previews: Mar. 14, 15, 18
Opening Night and Media Reception: Mar. 19, 2015
Runs: Mar. 19 - Apr. 12, 2015

In the backdrop of this sparkling new romantic comedy, mini-skirts and bell bottoms rocked to the tune of Stevie Wonder's 1973 hit, "Livin' for the City; women's liberation raised the conscience of the nation; and Atlanta made history by electing Maynard Jackson as its first Black Mayor. The tale of a divorcee sweeping into town, from her self-assuring trip to Paris, just as her ambitious ex-husband is trying to avoid a scandal that could upset his chances for being named city attorney. Don't miss this regional premiere by Pearl Cleage, best-selling novelist and author of The Ensemble's 2012 hit performance, The Nacirema Society.

Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking
R/ Drama-Comedy/ Regional Premiere (contains adult themes and language)
By Gus Edwards
Directed by Eileen J. Morris

Previews: May 2, 3, 6
Opening Night and Media Reception: May 7, 2015                                                       
Runs: May 7 – May 31, 2015   

Henry and Abe are two old guys who just can't seem to get along, but nevertheless are drawn to the same park bench every day. Having once competed for the love of the same woman, their rivalry has grown over the years. Now, in the twilight of their lives, they find themselves humorously intertwined by the ever-changing times. Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking is a funny and poignant story of rivalry, friendship, and the journey of life.

Trav'lin - The New 1930s Harlem Musical
PG/ Musical/ Houston Premiere
By
Gary Holmes and Allan Shapiro
Directed and Choreographed by Patdro Harris
Musical Direction by
Carton Leake

Previews: June 20, 21, 24
Opening Night and Media Reception: June 25, 2015                                                                
Runs: June 25 - July 26, 2015

A humorous, heart-warming story of three couples playing the game of love in 1930's Harlem. The action centers on George, a retired Pullman porter and church deacon, and the intriguing stranger he meets who is not the person she seems to be. This jazz-infused score celebrates the music of Harlem Renaissance composer J. C. Johnson and is reminiscent of many well-known, bluesy Broadway shows. Trav'lin – The New 1930s Harlem Musical captures the essence of Harlem. Johnson's music has been performed and recorded by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

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.

Robert Ross
(713) 807-4306/ 713-520-0055