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  Media Release
CONTACT:  Robert Ross
  January 13, 2015
(713) 807-4306/ 713-520-0055
  For Immediate Release

The Ensemble Theatre Kicks off New Year with Regional Premiere Fly

A Celebration of the lives of the Tuskegee Airmen

HOUSTON (January 13, 2015) –- The Ensemble Theatre kicks off the new year with its regional premiere Fly, written by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, and directed by Allie Woods, with the Opening Night and Media reception, Thursday, January 29, 2015, 6:30p.m.

“An old photograph mounted on a friend’s wall was what drew my attention to the Tuskegee Airmen, says Khan. “Eyes glaring with determination, brown shoulders squared with pride; and their stance while posing in front of a P-51 mustang at Ramitelli Air base in Italy brilliantly defied the bigoted and racist ramblings of the period.”

Fly celebrates the lives of the courageous and dedicated Tuskegee Airman who flew during World War II. This story shows the determination of the young men who made historic contributions toward the desegregation of the American military and furthering of civil rights. These heroic military pioneers landed a phenomenal place in history.

“And so, here I am as director of Fly, charged with my own imperative to dramatize and immortalize one of the most glorious warrior units in the history of the United States military, the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II,” says Woods. “Here we all are -- writers, cast, designers, and company in the formation of a theatrical rescue party known in my mind as Team Fly.”

Featured cast members include: Kedrick Brown, Kendrick “KayB” Brown, Jason E. Carmichael, Brendon Lara, Rhett Martinez, Nkem Richard Nwankwe, Joe “JoeP” Palmore, and Taelon Stonecipher.

Previews: January 24, 25, and 28     Show Runs: January 29 – February 22, 2015

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:    
For Information and Group Rates Call: 713-520-0055

Ticket Prices: $23 - $44

Opening Night and Media Reception, Thursday, January 29, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Trey Ellis is a novelist, screenwriter, playwright, essayist, and an association professor in the Graduate School of the Arts at Columbia University. In addition to Fly, he also co-created Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing with Ricardo Khan. His work for the screen includes the Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated HBO film The Tuskegee Airmen, Good Fences for Showtime, and The Inkwell for Touchstone pictures.

Ricardo Khan is a director, writer, educator and Tony Award-winning Artistic Director. In 1978 he co-founded the Crossroads Theatre Company, one of history’s few African American theatre organizations to ever rise to both national and international prominence as a major professional regional arts institution, having launched countless careers for writers, directors and actors of color, and over one hundred premieres of new and innovative plays for the American theatre, for Broadway and for television. On June 5, 1999, his company became the first black theatre in history to receive the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in America.

Director/actor Allie Woods, Jr. returns to his native Houston following his Ensemble production of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and Charles Fuller’s The Brownsville Raid, cited by the Houston Chronicle as “One of Houston’s 10 Best Theatre Productions, 2008.” Woods is alumni of both Texas Southern and Tennessee State Universities, and numbers over 200 stage/film/media credits in the United States and internationally. He is a founding member/ resident actor for three seasons with the Tony Award-honored Negro Ensemble Company in New York; and he was in the original cast of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Miss Evers Boys

The Ensemble Theatre's 2014-2015 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. Fly is generously underwritten by Spectra Energy and the Humphreys Foundation.

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-eight years later, the theatre has evolved from a small touring company to 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.