The Ensemble Theatre Presents World Premiere of “The Front Porch Society”

HOUSTON, April 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Ensemble Theatre kicks off the world premiere of The Front Porch Society, by Melda Beaty, and directed by Eileen J. Morris with Opening Night and Media Reception, Thursday, May 11, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Beaty says this story formed in her mind when human remains were found exhumed in a cemetery near her home a year after the 2008 election of President Obama.

“A story was formed in my mind that juxtaposed a historic day in United States history with a horrific event in the same cemetery where Emmett Till was buried,” says Beaty.

Beaty is an author, playwright, and English professor at Olive Harvey College. Her play, The Front Porch Society has been part of several stage readings including one at the Midtown Arts and Theatre Center Houston (M.A.T.C.H.); the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and The Robey Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The reading at The Robey Theatre included actors Loretta Devine, Marla Gibbs, and Ted Lange among the noted cast.

Morris, the Artistic Director for The Ensemble Theatre expresses her thoughts on directing the world premiere of this production.

“It is an absolute honor for The Ensemble Theatre to be in the position to provide a platform for another new theatrical work,” says Morris. “Not every theatre has the leadership or the resources to invest in the work of emerging playwrights in this way.”

It’s November 4, 2008 in Marks, Mississippi, and America is on the eve of electing its first Black president. But what does that mean to 4 elderly women in this rural town, especially Carrie Honey, the town’s “overseer,” as she grieves the anniversary of her son’s tragic death amidst the town’s excitement over Barack Obama. After years of failed attempts to seek justice, Carrie has grown bitter and no longer interested in life’s celebrations, until a scandal at the cemetery rocks this historic day, and a past secret is revealed that restores her faded faith.

“It is a front porch so comforting that the audience will pull up a chair and laugh, cry, and root for these women because the story they share will resonate with everyone,” says Beaty.

Cast members include: Michele Harrell, Gwen Harris, Tamara Siler, Rachel Hemphill Dickson, Dannette McElory-Davis, Jason Carmichael, and Kendrick ”KAYB” Brown.

Previews: May 6, 7, and 10

Show Runs: May 11 – June 4, 2017

Performance Days and Times: Thursdays: 7:30 p.m; Fridays: 8:00 p.m; Saturdays: 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m; and Sundays: 3:00 p.m.

Tickets Available Online: www.EnsembleHouston.com    For Information Call: 713-520-0055

Ticket Prices: $30 – $61

Opening Night and Media Reception, Thursday, May 11, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

The Ensemble Theatre’s 2016-2017 Season is sponsored in part by grants from The Humphreys Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.  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. Forty 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 myriad audiences.

Contact:
Robert Ross 281-310-1648
rross@ensemblehouston.com Janette Cosley, 713-807-4306
jcosley@ensemblehouston.com Eileen J. Morris 412-726-6163
eileenjmorris@gmail.com 

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