THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE
www.ensemblehouston.com
 


Artistic Director of The Ensemble Theatre EILEEN J. MORRIS

Presents

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing

Regional Premiere

 

Written by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan

Directed and Choreographed by Patdro Harris

Musical Direction with Original Songs by Carlton Leake

 

PG-13 Drama with Music

June 30 thru July 31, 2016

 


 

The Ensemble Theatre Presents

 

 

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing

Regional Premiere

 

Written by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan

 

Who/What:  The Ensemble Theatre Kicks Off its 2015-2016 season finale with Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing written by Try Ellis and Ricardo Khan, Directed and choreographed by Patdro Harris, and Musical Direction with Original Songs by Carlton Leake.

 

 

 

                              Kansas City jazz filled nights awakened to cracks of baseball bats as change for Black Americans seemed enticingly close in 1947. Satchel Paige and many other all-stars flourished in Negro League Baseball, many of whom crossed color lines like Jackie Robinson who become the first Black player in modern major-league baseball. This story tells the triumphs and humanity of these players as business men and family men best described in Satchel Paigeís quote "Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching."

 

           

Charles Wesley Lattimore Jr. as Satchel Paige and Andre' Neal as Buck O'Neil

Cast members include:

Florida artist, Charles Lattimore in the title role as Satchel Paige; and Houston Artists Andreí Neal; Dave Harris; Kendrick Lattimore; Geovanny Acosta; Anítick Von Morphxing; Estee Burks; and Anthony Boggess-Glover.

 

 

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing

 

 

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing

 

                        Show Run:     June 30 Ė July 31, 2016

                                                 

Where:                        The Ensemble Theatre

                                    3535 Main St, Houston, TX 77002

                                    713-520-0055

                                    www.EnsembleHouston.com

 

The Ensemble Theatre's 2015-2016 Season is sponsored in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. United Airlines is the official 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. Thirty-nine years later, the theatre has evolved from a touring company operating from the trunk of Mr. Hawkinsí car to being one of Houstonís 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 nationís largest African American theatres owning and operating its facility and producing in-house. Board President Emeritus Audrey Lawson led the capital campaign for The Ensembleís $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.

www.EnsembleHouston.com

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing

All Ė American Athlete

Interview with Charles Wesley Lattimore Jr. (Title Role)

And Andrea Boronell starring in Satchel Paige & the Kansas City Swing

For the Ensemble Theatre Houston

By Theresa Pisula Theresa@HoustonTheatre.com 
June 30, 2016

 

Charles Westley Lattimore Jr. plays the title role in Satchel Paige & the Kansas City Swing.  He is a native of Orlando, Florida and is making his Ensemble debut.  As a Theatre major / Music minor he received a B. A. degree from Florida A&M University.  Where he was elected by popular vote to be the first Mr. FAMU in the Universityís existence.  This talented and extraordinarily gifted artist has been seen and heard on stages across the country.  Some of his credits include: It Ainít Nothiní But the Blues, the Jackie Robinson story, No Easy Walk the Rosa Parks Story, Piano Lesson, Five Guys Named Moe, Dreamgirls, The Wiz, Sophisticated Ladies, Fences, Blues for an Alabama Sky, All Night Strut, Good God Alímighty and One Moí Time just to name a few.  Heís also been spotted in Walmart commercials and Nickelodeon TV shows.  This jack of all trades and master of most has taken his act internationally performing in Switzerland and neighboring countries.

Theresa:  Tell us about the part that youíre playing

Charles:  I am fortunate to get to play Satchel Paige himself.  A history maker, a phenomenal ball player, past what man would think was his prime.  But the real longevity is in the fact that he played past his sixties and was still striking people out.

Andrea:  From 1947Ö

Charles:  up until 1972.  The wonderful thing about this age thing is that Satchel Paige was ageless.  There was always these different rumors about his age because they never really told.  He would never really say what his age was.  One of his quotes was ďHow old would you be, if you didnít know how old you were?Ē

Theresa:  He was definitely a great part of American history as well as our sports history.

Charles:  Thatís the wonderful part of theatre.  Theatre can entertain, educate, itís a ministry.  Itís therapeutic, all of those things.  When you come to the Theatre to experienceÖ..we always tell people to COME, come, come and come.  This is a way of giving back.  Itís a way of paying it forward.  So in order to experience live interaction with people to help people.  Because one, we need to be employed.  So please come see live theatre with live people and therefore, you get live information that you can take back into your communities and empower somebody. 

Charles Wesley Lattimore Jr. as Satchel Paige

Theresa:  How did you become a part of this play?

Charles:  The director Pardro Harris called me.  The way it was told to me, the story was that there were a few Satchel Paiges that they considered.  But none fit the bill quite as I did.  I did not have to audition (laughs).  I got a phone call.

Theresa:  You fit the bill.

Charles:  He said, youíre perfect.  He was actually on Facebook and he saw this video of me playing around singing in the hallways of Florida.  Heís like, ďWhoís this guy?Ē and called me up and asked for my contact information.  The rest is history.

Theresa:  Thatís amazing.  Have you played a baseball player before?

Charles:  When I was doing the Jackie Robinson story, I actually played several characters but not Jackie Robinson.  I played Matt, his older brother who is an athlete himself.  He was an Olympic runner, if Iím not mistaken. 

Theresa:  Matthew Mackenzie ďMackĒ Robinson won the silver medal in the 1936 Olympics.

Charles:  I played other baseball players on the Negro league that we embody throughout.  Then, I became a reporter that followed Jackie.  So I got a chance to throw a ball or two.

Theresa:  But this time, youíre the main man, the big Kahuna, the title roleÖ.

Charles:  But this timeÖ (laughs)Ö.I am good.

Theresa:  What have you discovered playing the great Satchel Paige?

Charles:  You learn about yourself when you do these parts and you connect with it.  Thereís always an extension of who you are within the character.  Thatís what I found with Satchel Paige.  Iím not the athletic individual myself.  But the me who I am wasnít required for the gig.  It was the me who I could be.

(L-R)  Charles Wesley Lattimore Jr. as Satchel Paige and Dave Harris as Bob Feller

Theresa:  And tonight youíre the great All-American All-Star Satchel Paige (laughs).

Charles:  The fastest ball anywhere.  He caught it so fast, you might have missed it (laughs).

Theresa:  You also did Fences by August Wilson. 

Charles:  I played Lyons, who was the artistic brother.

Andrea:  The trouble-maker (laughs).

Charles:  Thank God history doesnít mimic itself in that role.

Theresa:  Would you consider Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing a musical?

Charles:  Itís a play with music in it. 

Theresa:  Do you dance?

Charles:  I do dance.  I move well. 

Theresa:  So youíre a triple threat.

Charles:  Well in this play we do more than triple Ďcause we got to dance, sing, act, play ball, move furniture.

Theresa:  How did the music work with the baseball aspect?

Charles:  When it was originally written, it was written as a straight play.  But with this rendition of the show here in HoustonÖ.

Theresa:  they made it musical.

Charles:  They called Carlton Leake (Musical Director) who provided the music.

(L-R)  Charles Wesley Lattimore Jr. as Satchel Paige, Director and Choreographer Patdro Harris and Musical Director Carlton Leake

Theresa:  Carlton Leake composed the original lyrics and music.  Have you been in many plays?

Charles:  Over twenty.  But there were shows that ran for months.

Theresa:  Where were you born?

Charles:  I am originally from Orlando, Florida.  Born and raised and still based in Orlando.  Iíve searched the globe and Iíve been everywhere.  I still havenít found a place quite like it.

Theresa:  Were you affected when the recent bombing happened at Pulse Night Club?

Charles:  The humanitarian in me emerged when it happened.  Of course, there was an enormous amount of sympathy for the people who lost someone.  But no one close to me or anybody that I knew was affected in any way.  But of course because it is our community.  Human life was greatly affected.

Theresa:  What would you like to say to the Houston Theatre-going audience?

Charles:  Hope to see you there.  Support this wonderful institution that is here.  Not for just this show but for shows to come.  This theatre (The Ensemble theatre) and this work Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing.

Theresa:  What would you like the audience to gain from watching this play?

Charles:  Self-awareness, a sense of pride.  Of course, youíll be educated and entertained.  To learn and know who this individual is and then as life goes, just start giving Credit where credit is due.

 

Anthony Boggess-Glover as the Jazzman and Charles Wesley Lattimore Jr. as Satchel Paige

 

Charles Wesley Lattimore Jr. as Satchel Paige and Andrea Boronell as Mrs. Hopkins

Andrea Boronell who plays Mrs. Hopkins arrived in Houston after attending California State University in Sacramento where she earned a BA in Drama.  While there Andrea performed in a variety of productions including Sacramento Theatre Companyís The Tempest, A Christmas Carol, Little Shop of Horrors, Music Circus, Hello Dolly and Cabin in The Sky.  Since moving to Houston, Andrea has worked with the Houston Family Art Center in Crowns and The Ensemble in The Nacirema Society, The Man Who Saved New Orleans; Christmas with Great Aunt and Constant Star.

Theresa:  You were in Christmas with Great Aunt. 

Andrea:  I was the break dancing, pop locking (character) and a giant fishing boot.

Theresa:  It was a great Christmas musical for kids.

Andrea:  It was funny because I was in here goofing off one day and Patdro (Harris, the Director) saw me pop locking.  He goes ďYou can pop lock?Ē  So he puts it in the show (laughs).

Theresa:  (Laughs) thatís right.  Not only is he the Director, he is the choreographer.  He saw that you can dance.  Since this is a musical, you can also sing, so you can do both.  Which makes you a triple threat also.

Andrea:  Iím a triple threat!

Charles:  Youíre a triple threat.  And sometimes you need to do more than that.

Theresa:  Tell us about the part that youíre playing.

Andrea:  I play Mrs. Hopkins.  I am a widow.  My husband passed away and I opened my home into a Bed and Breakfast.  I needed to take care of my daughter and myself.  The good thing is my B&B home is listed in a book that was set up to lead African Americans know where they can stay, where they can eat without having problems in the South and certain parts of the West.

Theresa:  Thatís a part of history. 

Andrea:  Yes!  I have a teenage daughter whoís seventeen and basically raising her by myself.

Estee Burks as Moira Hopkins and Andrea Boronell as her mother Mrs. Hopkins

Theresa:  How did you become a part of this play?

Andrea:  The irony is that I didnít audition.  Eileen Morris (Artistic Director) called me and asked me to come over.  I said, ďThank GodĒ and ďgreatĒ!

Theresa:  So then she knew that you could sing.

Andrea:  Yes, she heard me sing with Christmas with Great Aunt.  Also two years ago before Joe Sample died, he was an amazing jazz pianist.  He was in a musical.  We did a stage reading of it here (Ensemble Theatre) and I did that as well.

Theresa:  Congratulations!  You got the call and didnít even have to audition for the role.  I also saw you in Constant Star.

Andrea:  You couldnít have seen me in Constant Star.  I was an understudy.  An understudy is someone who learns the linesÖ.

Theresa:  Did you have to memorize the entire play?  I mean, you had toÖ

Andrea:  No, there were five women.  And they were all major parts.  I learned the first two characters so that if anything happened, I would take one of those characterís places and they would rotate the other lines.  But understudy is fine.  You learned all the parts but you donít have all the responsibility (laughs).

Theresa:  It was a play about a very strong female.

Andrea:  Ida B. Wells. 

Theresa:  This proves the strong correlation between theatre and education.  I wouldnít have known the story of Ida B. Wells if not for the Ensemble Theatre.

Andrea:  True.  I have heard of her but didnít know much about her.  Itís like this show now, Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing.  I did not know much of anything except who Satchel Paige was.  The interesting thing is that, I never thought of myself as feminine.  I always thought of myself as strong and athletic.  I was into sports from the fourth grade until my daughter was 3 years old.  I played softball.  I was the ball player.  I didnít think of femininity as being strong.  Literally, doing the play Constant Star about Ida B. Wells made me realize that femininity and strength are not mutually exclusive.  They can fit together. 

Theresa:  She was amazing.  She was an African American female, born in the 1800s who became a journalist and a publisher.  And she was competitive in a male dominated world.  Truly inspiring.  Are you from Houston originally?

Andrea:  No, Iím like many Americans.  I was born in Niagara Falls, New York but I grew up in New Mexico with my mother Diane.  After getting married to a military person, I ended up in Sacramento California.  I was there for a very long time.  I visited Houston and fell in love with the city.  Which is ironic since I came during Tropical storm Alice.  But I fell in love with the city of Houston!

Theresa:  How do you like the weather?  Because not only do we have storms and floods, itís actually very hot right now.  I mean, weíre talking triple digit heat plus 100% humidity.

Andrea:  (Laughs).  I have to be honest.  Generally in the summer time, I try to leave quickly.  Iím a Theatre teacher so during the summer, I try to get out of here.

Theresa:  (Laughs) but you love the winters okay.

Andrea:  Oh I love every other season except from June to August.

Theresa:  But now youíre hereÖ.

Andrea:  in the middle of the heat (laughs).

Theresa:  What would you like to say to the Houston theatre-going audience?

Andrea:  Come!  Thatís the first thing I want to say, come.  The citizens of Houston may not know that there is a giant opportunity to see live theatre here.  Thereís a plethora of theatre companies here.  I donít know if itís true but Iíve heard that this is the second largest seating of theatre in America, second to New York.  Donít know if itís true, I just know thereís a lot.  People donít know this but, people who do theatre in middle school or high school, they say they have higher reading levels.  They do better on their test exams.  They have a higher comprehension or problem solving ability.  So just get involved in it!  Come!

Theresa:  If you love Jazz, the Swing, All-American baseball and a soulful story about the hardships and rewards of Life, love and music.  Donít miss Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing written by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, directed and choreographed by Patdro Harris with original music and lyrics by Carlton Leake.  Now showing at the Ensemble Theatre on Main street through July 31, 2016.

Director and Choreographer Patdro Harris & Musical Director Carlton Leake

 

 

Tickets Available Online: www.EnsembleHouston.com   

Where:  3535 Main St, Houston, TX 77002

For Information Call: 713-520-0055

 

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-nine years later, the theatre has evolved from a small touring company to one of Houstonís 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 nationís largest African American theatres owning and operating its facility and producing in-house. Board President Emeritus Audrey Lawson led the capital campaign for The Ensembleís $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.