Detroit ’67 and “Revolutionary” Youth

To Get Down on a Righteous Pair of Tickets Click Here!
Dominique Morisseau’s play Detroit ’67 takes place during an intense time in our national and even world history. There was the Vietnam War, nuclear threats, the assassination of President Kennedy, the fight for the Voting Rights Act, and the onward push of the civil rights movement with young leaders at the helm.

Juxtaposed to these signs of the times were the chart-topping Motown hits; songs that fell upon the ears and hearts of youth and gave voice to their dreams and passions. What was it like to be young in the 60’s?

“Empowered, Emboldened, and Revolutionary” are words one Ensemble Theatre patron uses to describe his experience as a youth in Detroit during the riots.

Detroit 67   3.18.2016-17While the play takes place specifically during the Detroit 1967 riots, it focuses on Lank and Michelle “Chelle,” a brother and sister trying to run a business together amidst the heated eruption of violence in their city; young entrepreneurs running an after-hours club in the basement of their deceased parent’s home. Fears for their future are being spurred by all the turmoil, and intersecting with their desire to be young and carefree.

Parallels between the 1960s and present time can be seen with the mounting tension and frustration between civilians and authority figures; and youth led activism such as the Black Lives Matter movement.  A new generation emerges and asserts themselves against inequalities and begins their endeavors to affect change.

Today’s technology allows youth to mobilize quickly with the use of social media. They can develop and run a campaign or movement from computers and mobile devices as seen in recent political and fundraising campaigns, and movements for social change on a global scale.

“Most of the movements of our day were led by youth,” says the Detroit native. “In many instances the parents were supporting them because in their day they knew they likely wouldn’t have had the numbers to make the impact we were making.”Detroit 67   3.18.2016-33

The lives of youth in any generation appear to be ever layered with the complexity of seeking justice and social changes towards issues of the day, with the simplicities  of good music, romance, and deciding what dreams to follow first.

We’re about to dim the lights and get ready for this psychedelic basement party in Detroit ’67To Get Down on a Righteous Pair of Tickets Click Here!

Detroit 67   3.18.2016-50

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“Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking” Brings Two Houston Veteran Actors Together

Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking

“Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking” makes its regional premiere at The Ensemble Theatre.

Two Old BlackGuys Just Sitting Around Talking brings together two of Houston’s veteran actors, Wayne DeHart and Alex Morris, who take us into a sometimes raw, sometimes gritty, yet always funny conversation between two aging friends; their brotherly relationship complicated by their age-old rivalry for the love of the same woman.

If you’ve ever eavesdropped on your elders’ conversations you know some of them can be pretty candid and laced with a few embellishments, yet chalked full of wisdom.

Both Wayne DeHart and Alex Morris, a former Alley Theatre company member, have a career spanning more than 30 years in stage, television, and film. Both men also began performing during the early years of The Ensemble Theatre and during the life of its late founder George W. Hawkins.

Wayne DeHart

Actor Wayne DeHart

The career paths of Morris and DeHart have many similarities and even intersect at several points, leaving one to conclude that each will bring a great deal of authenticity to the characters they play.

Alex Morris

Actor Alex Morris

“What I Learned in Paris” Brings A Lesson in Love, Life, and Liberation!

What I Learned in Paris

A Houston powerhouse of talent brings Pearl Cleage’s “What I Learned In Paris” to life at The Ensemble Theatre.

Have you ever been to Paris? Can you tell us what epiphanic lessons you learned there?

What I Learned In Paris finds a group of adults enthralled in what some would consider quite inappropriate and trivial behavior since their on the ebb of one of the major historically significant political achievements of the 1970’s. C’est la vie mon chéri. No matter what gravely important changes or monumental successes hang in our backdrop, it doesn’t stop life’s little nuances from occurring. “The heart wants what the heart wants.”What I Learned in Paris

The story takes some far out psychedelic twists when a divorcee, back in the ATL fresh from her trip to Paris and full of new age wisdom, has a few liberating lessons for the love torn bunch. Director Eileen J. Morris has put together a powerhouse of talent to bring every dimension of Pearl Cleage’s romantic comedy to life.

Featured cast members include: Yunina Barbour-Payne, making her debut on The Ensemble Theatre stage; Kendrick “KayB” Bown, just seen in Fly; Cynthia Brown Garcia, who was in The Ensemble’s premiere of the Thomas Meloncon play Christmas with Great Aunt; Detria Ward, who won the 2013 Houston Press Best Actress for her performance in The Ensemble’s production of Pearl Cleage’s The Nacirema Society; and Mirron Willis, who most recently performed as Malcolm X in The Meeting.

Young Performers are Rising Stars

Young Performers2The Ensemble Theatre is preparing for its summer Young Performers Program, a summer training program for youth ages 6-17. Two, four week sessions are held where the youth learn acting skills, music, dance, technical aspect of theatre production, and more. This self-esteem building program culminates in the youth presenting a professional production of their own in front of their family and other patrons. Sessions will be held June 2-28, 2014 and June 30 – July 26, 2014. For More Info Contact Teresa White, twhite@ensemblehouston.comYoung Performers
Many alumni from the program have gone on to have success in college and in their professional careers extending beyond the arts. Most recently, Joshua Levi, a former program participant was seen as a finalist on the television show X Factor. Other Ensemble Theatre young performers Raiya Goodman, John Hall, Tyne Dickson and Tah’ Janae Merchant were recently accepted into the (HSPVA) High School for Performing and Visual Arts.

Each year The Ensemble Theatre recognizes one of its former Young Performers Program participants as its Rising Star award recipient along with celebrities, corporations, and local community members for their contributions to the arts and support of The Ensemble Theatre in becoming one of Houston’s premiere historical cultural institutions. This year’s gala will be held Saturday, August 16, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown – Houston.

The Ensemble Theatre's August 16, 2014 Annual Black Tie Gala. Honorary Chair: The Honorable Sylvester Turner; and Co-Chairs: Laurie Vignaud and Devra Daughtry

The Ensemble Theatre’s August 16, 2014 Annual Black Tie Gala. Honorary Chair: The Honorable Sylvester Turner; and Co-Chairs: Laurie Vignaud and Devra Daughtry

Heart of The Ensemble Theatre Beating Strong

Heart of the Theatre Corporate Luncheon: Ensemble Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris, Board Member Muriel Funches, and Executive Director Janette Cosley

Heart of the Theatre Corporate Luncheon: Ensemble Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris, Board Member Muriel Funches, and Executive Director Janette Cosley

The Ensemble Theatre celebrated its 2013-2014 Annual Heart of the Theatre appreciation event, Monday, March 3, 2014. The day kicked off with a corporate luncheon were Ensemble Board President Micheal Helm gave a report on the impact corporate and individual donor support has had in the growth of the theatre as a stable business and major influence in the Midtown community. Interim Executive Director Jill Jewitt of MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theatre Center Houston), spoke about the forthcoming arts space soon to break ground near the theatre. Janette Cosley, Ensemble Executive Director serves on the executive director selection committee for MATCH; and Eileen J. Morris, Ensemble Artistic Director serves as chair of the Midtown Management District’s Cultural Arts Committee.

The day culminated in a performance by Kim Coles, The Ensemble Theatre’s 2013 Actress of the Year honoree, returning to Houston with her one-woman show entitled: Oh But Wait…There’s More! Over 300 subscribers and donors were in attendance for this special event hosted by The Ensemble’s board, staff, and artists as an extension of gratitude for their support of the theatre’s programs year round.

Heart of the Theatre Performance by Actress Kim Coles in her one-woman show "Oh but Wait...There's More!"

Heart of the Theatre Performance by Actress Kim Coles in her one-woman show “Oh but Wait…There’s More!”

The Ensemble Theatre is preparing for its August 16, 2014 Annual Black Tie Gala and Fundraiser where celebrities, corporations, and local community members will be recognized for their contributions to the arts and support of The Ensemble Theatre in becoming one of Houston’s premiere historical cultural institutions.

The Ensemble Theatre's August 16, 2014 Annual Black Tie Gala. Honorary Chair: The Honorable Sylvester Turner; and Co-Chairs: Laurie Vignaud and Devra Daughtry

The Ensemble Theatre’s August 16, 2014 Annual Black Tie Gala. Honorary Chair: The Honorable Sylvester Turner; and Co-Chairs: Laurie Vignaud and Devra Daughtry

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