The Ensemble Theatre celebrates its 36th uninterrupted season as Houston's premier African American performing arts institution with a gala themed: An Evening Full of Bright Lights and Electrifying Entertainment, Saturday, August 25, 2012, 6:30PM at the Hilton Americas-Houston.
Ben Vereen, known for his multiple talents as a performing artist, continues his work on stage, television, and film. Vereen was recently reunited with the cast of Roots on Oprah's OWN network. He will receive The Ensemble Theatre's Lifetime Achievement Award.
"The theatre was my first training ground," says Vereen. "It taught me discipline, dedication and appreciation of hard work and values that will stay with me a lifetime. The stage sharpens the creative instrument and encourages you to go deeper inside and try new things."
Glynn Turman started his career as a child in Lorraine Hansberry's Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun, alongside Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee. Turman has gone on to work on many films, television, and stage productions as an artist and director. He is currently touring around the country his own autobiography and one-man show entitled: Movin Man. In addition to touring, he is also currently co-staring in the new showtime series "House of Lies," with Don Cheadle. Aside from his work as an artist, Turman and his wife Jo-An co-founded a western style summer camp "Camp Gid D Up" for inner-city and at-risk youth. The Ensemble Theatre will present him with its Legacy Award.
Melissa Greggs is a former participant of The Ensemble Theatre's Young Performers Program. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in fashion design and marketing from Prairie View A & M University. Greggs is now a designer and stylist and founder of Jenise Gregg Couture featuring her own clothing line. She is this year's Rising Star Award recipient.
Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line, An Energy Transfer Company is a long time contributor to The Ensemble Theatre and is being recognized for their unwavering support to the arts. They will be recognized as this year's Corporate Partner of the Year.
The gala includes a Mayor's Reception at 6:30PM, Program and Dinner at 7:30PM, Dancing with Yvonne Washington and The Mix Band at 9:30PM. Event tickets begin at $350 and can be purchased by calling Donna Smith at 713-807-4321.
The celebration continues on Sunday, August 26, 2:00PM when season ticket holders may attend the "Giorgee Awards," The Ensemble's own version of the Tony's, affectionately named after The Ensemble Theatre's founder George W. Hawkins. The Giorgee Awards are presented in recognition of the best actors, designers, and overall productions seen at The Ensemble Theatre the previous year.
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.