3535 Main Street Houston, Texas 77002
Phone 713-520-0055

2000 - 2001 SEASON


There is some familiar counsel that elders give to their young, “Just keep living.” The saying is maybe an admonition, or a prayer. In all instances, the sentiment acknowledges that change and challenges are a part of every life. Since 1976, The Ensemble Theatre has presented a repertoire that entertains and offers insight into the African American experience and its intersecting points with other cultures. This season, six playwrights, guest artists, and the local artists who have given you memorable moments at The Ensemble, explore how all of our lives are impacted by change. In a season rich in humor, drama, music and revelations, these productions portray change precipitated by love - miraculous change giving birth to faith. How courage ensures changes that alter history. Extended family, and rites of passage that shepherd us through change. Changes that bind and challenge generations. Finally, each play portrays how changes “call” ordinary people to take on extraordinary lives. The Board of The Ensemble invites you to experience the intimacy and magic of live theatre, and to join us in celebrating a season of change. If we are so fortunate or wise as to “just keep living,” we will discover together that change is not only necessary, but truly amazing! Enjoy the 24th Anniversary Season,
“Amazing Grace.....Ordinary People.....Extraordinary Lives”!



September 15 - October 15, 2000

THE OLD SETTLER by John Henry Redwood
George Hawkins Main Stage
Preview: September 15 - 16, 2000
Run: September 21 - October 15, 2000

In World War II Harlem, New York, fifty - five year old spinster (or, as they were called in those days, an Old Settler) Elizabeth Borny, takes in a young male roomer, Husband Witherspoon, to help her with the rent. Husband has come to Harlem from South Carolina to search for his girlfriend, Lou Bessie Preston. Also living with Elizabeth is her sister, Quilly McGrath, fifty - three. There is an ominous cloud of tension that hangs over Elizabeth and Quilly’s relationship. This tension is further exacerbated when Elizabeth and Quilly’s relationship.

This tension is further exacerbated when Elizabeth and Husband take to liking each other. Quilly, who doesn’t like Husband living with them in the first place, surely doesn’t approve of their “carrying on,” especially since Elizabeth is old enough to be Husband’s mother. It is this “carrying on” that exposes a thirty - year old wound which, until now, only had a bandage - now the would can heal for the sisters.



November 17 - December, 2000

BLACK NATIVITY - Conceived by Langston Hughes
Adapted with text by Marsha Jackson - Randolph
George Hawkins Main Stage
Preview: November 17 - 18, 2000
Run: November 24 - December 30, 2000

Langston Hughes conceived two stores in “Black Nativity” - a gospel musical play to celebrate the Nativity in Bethlehem, and a contemporary story fueled by the powerful testimony of believers generations later. Jackson Randolph’s adaptation has been both critically acclaimed and “anointed” for five seasons in Atlanta. Consistent with Hughes’s concept, the first act recreates the splendor of The Nativity and the birth of Christ; the second act is set in contemporary urban setting, where the congregation has gathered for a heart-filling Christmas Eve service at the Harlem River Drive Full - Gospel Church. Jackson - Rudolph has integrated characters who are families, deacons and elders, young professionals, homeless, and “young and at - risk,” to relate a story of hope, re - birth and reconciliation.


January 26 - February 27, 2000

CAMP LOGAN - by Celeste Bedford Walker
George Hawkins Main Stage
Preview: January 26 - 27. 2001
Run: February 1 - February 25, 2001

A theatrical drama based on the 1917 courts - martial and execution of 19 black soldiers of the 24th Infantry. In the tradition of “A Soldier’s Story,” Celeste Bedford Walker’s “Camp Logan” delves into the world of the early military, and discovers men who are sleeping with the enemy. Her work probes into the lives of the Black soldiers who rose up in arms against the discrimination they encountered in 1917, while stationed at Houston’s Camp Logan. This gripping drama reveals how war gives rise to unlikely heroes.

"A SOLDIER'S STORY" Pulitzer Prize Winner Charles Fuller (right)



March 23 - April 24, 2000

HOME - by Samm - Art Williams
George Hawkins Main Stage
Preview: March 23 - 24, 2001
Run: March 29 - April 22, 2001

In “Home”, Samm - Art Williams, the creator of the popular series “Fresh Prince of Bellaire” and “Frank’s Place,” once again masters the art of winning an audience with laughter and tears. This simple and endearing story affirms that home is both a place and a state of being. Audiences will identify with the central character’s search in the “big Northern city” for fulfillment, acceptance and love, only to discover that and more in the South, when he returns “home.”


May 25 - June 26, 2000

George Hawkins Main Stage
Preview: May 25 - 26, 2001
Run: May 31 - June 24, 2001

A story of a young black girl’s coming of age in the south in the 1960s. It is a loving tribute to several older black women who “fed, read, loved and raised” the character Daughter in Georgia public housing projects. In the series of vignettes that make up Youngblood’s generally endearing play, each woman teaches Daughter a valuable lesson in living, loving and being a woman. They also symbolically mark her rite of passage by taking her “to the river.” The play opens with Daughter returning home to bury the last of her Big Mamas. It is two hours of comedy and drama that is sure to keep you riveted to your seat.


July 13 - August 14, 2000

HIGHER GROUND - by Marsha Jackson - Randolph
George Hawkins Main Stage
Preview: July 13 - 14, 2001
Run: July 19 - August 12, 2001

“Higher Ground” is a play about breaking ground. The play, set in 1964, takes place on “Sweet Auburn Avenue,” a mecca for black enterpreneurship, entertainment, and social life. Against the backdrop of actual events of the Civil Rights Movement, “Higher Ground” portrays a family with two generations of dreamers, Jesse Hartman, a Sweet Auburn small business owner and former manager for entertainer Sam Cooke, and his two daughters. The plot revolves around Jesse Hartman’s plan to produce a desegregated concert in order to raise money to save his bar on Sweet Auburn.


3535 Main Street Houston, Texas 77002
Phone 713-520-0055, ext. 308 (Subscriptions)
Fax 713-520-1269