The Ensemble Highlights 'A Spectacular Evening of Energy, Honor, and Celebration'

HOUSTON, Aug. 2, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ensemble Theatre kicks off its 2010 Black Tie Gala weekend filled with energy, honor, and celebration of 34 years of service to the Greater Houston community.

"I am thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate and garner support for an organization so dear to my heart," says Jackie Phillips, Board President. "It's an honor to serve with our honorary chair Linnet Deily, and co-chair Paul-David Van Atta, who shares the same passion for hosting such a spectacular evening."

Who/ What:

The Ensemble Theatre will celebrate 34 years of service through the performing arts by honoring individuals in theatre and in the community who have committed time and resources to enhance theatre and the fine arts. Celebrity honorees include: actress Margaret Avery, known for her unforgettable role as the sultry and spirited blues singer "Shug Avery" in The Color Purple, will receive the "Lifetime Achievement" Award; Sheryl Lee Ralph, who starred as the original Deena Jones in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls and later working in music, film, and television is the year's "Actress of the Year" and recording artist and television star known for his role as Kyle Barker in the FOXTV sitcom Living Single, TC Carson, will receive the "Actor of the Year" Award. This year's "Rising Star" Award recipient is Tre Garrett, alumni of The Ensemble Theatre who works for Walt Disney Entertainment as a show director and as a Kennan Fellowship director in residence at the John F. Kennedy Center.

This year The Ensemble Theatre is also honoring energy companies for providing combined support of approximately $1.8 million over the past five years. The top six companies will be highlighted at the gala: BP America, CenterPoint Energy, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, and Spectra Energy. Their support has helped The Ensemble enhance its mainstage productions and provide youth opportunities.

  Honorary Chair:  Linnet F. Deily
  Gala Chairs: Jackie Phillips and Paul-David Van Atta
When: August 14, 2010 -- Mayor's Reception 6:30pm; Program and Dinner 7:30pm; Dancing 9:30pm
Where: Hilton Americas — Houston: Ballroom of the Americas, 1600 Lamar
AUDIO/VISUALS: 6:00pm – 6:30 Photo Ops
  6:30pm Mayor's Reception
  7:30pm Awards' Presentations
CONTACT:  Robert Ross 713-520-0055 or 

The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and enlighten, entertain and enrich a diverse community. 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.

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; and the Young Performers Program offers intensive summer training for children ages seven to 17 encompassing instruction in all disciplines of the theatre arts.