The Ensemble Theatre Kicks Off Its 36th Season With The Nacirema Society

A Play by Oprah's Book Club Best Selling Author and Playwright Pearl Cleage

HOUSTON, Sept. 19, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ensemble Theatre is set to debut its 36th season with a regional premiere, The Nacirema Society by Pearl Cleage, with an Opening Night and Media Reception, Thursday, September 27, 2012, 6:30 p.m.

Pearl Cleage is the award winning playwright of Blues for an Alabama Sky and Flyin' West, and the New York Times best-selling author of Oprah book club selection, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day.

"I am honored to have my play, The Nacirema Society, presented at The Ensemble Theatre," says Cleage. "This theatre has supported my work for many years and I am grateful for that support."

Set in the 1960's, and every year since emancipation, the Nacirema Society of Montgomery, Alabama introduces six elegant African-American debutants to a world of wealth, privilege and social responsibility. This year, at its 100th anniversary, with young love brewing, old flames simmering and national media attention on-hand. . . what would dare to go awry? Audiences are invited into this glamorous world where folks still dress for dinner.  A sparkling romantic comedy!

"At the heart of it, this play is the story of one American family struggling to keep its secrets and two young lovers for whom the flow of history is only a backdrop to the determination to be together," says Cleage.

The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris will direct this performance. Her most recent directing credits includes August Wilson's King Hedley II which not only was the theatre's presentation of the entire August Wilson 10-play cycle, but made Morris the only female director in the country to have directed eight of Wilson's 10 plays.

"I recall the 60s being a time that embraced significant leaders of the world with demand of social change, and even in the midst of major issues including unemployment, healthcare, housing, and education, the African American communities were also steeped in the tradition of charitable events, becoming successful business owners, entrepreneurs and maintaining a thriving middle class," says Morris. "Cotillions and other prominent events helped to expand our social, political, and economic connections."

Featured cast members include: Andrea Boronell, Derrick Brent II, Candice D'Meza, Florence Garvey, Autumn Knight, Joyce Anastasia, Angela Smith, Detria Ward, and Bebe Wilson.

Previews: Saturday, September 22, 2012:
  Sunday, September 23, 2012:
  Wednesday, September 26, 2012:
Show Run: September 27 – October 21, 2012
Thursdays:  7:30 p.m.
Fridays:  8:00 p.m.
Saturdays:  2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sundays:  3:00 p.m.

****Opening Night and Media Reception is Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. ***

The Ensemble Theatre's 2012-2013 Season is sponsored in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and Texas Commission on the Arts. United Airlines is the exclusive airline sponsor for The Ensemble Theatre.

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. More than 30 years later, the theatre has evolved from a touring company operating from the trunk of Mr. Hawkins' car to being 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 a myriad of audiences.