This past year has been one of tremendous re-awakening, re-discovery, and re-imaging for all of us - from universal issues to personal challenges that have caused us all to pause.
As a theatrical institution, we have been distanced from the world that we know as artists. For many of us, our artistry is our ministry, in which our art speaks volumes about who we are. We must be willing to define ourselves to engage the staging of the growth of who we are, what’s needed within our community, how to best serve yet reclaiming our cultural traditions. When I think about the structure of this, I acknowledge that I am a Black woman artist. My ancestors are the indigenous peoples of the native lands of Louisiana, and that I am the daughter of Imelda Dorian and James Johnson Jr.. I am the granddaughter of my paternal grandparents - James Johnson Sr. and Lillian Remie - and my maternal grandparents - Lee Dorian and Mazy Lee LeBlanc. As I reflect upon the history and legacy of my family and my cultural, I must not forget that we were brought across an ocean in chains, in the hulls of ships, alone and from there, we were forced to have our names changed from African names to the name of masters. We must not forget over the next hundreds of years we lived on dirt floors, ate the leftovers, and were bought, sold, traded as if cattle, had our houses burnt, were hung from trees, and thrust into separate but not equal spaces.
This year’s theme in celebration of our 45th anniversary season - Indomitable Spirit: Tenacious. Empowered. Together (TET) indicates that we as a people are ready to move forth and acknowledge we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. We continually explore new understandings and thrive to be who we are, fully. We all value community and its impact, acknowledging that we are deeply rooted in the moments of change that move us all to grow, have access and create space for the good of all beings.
This 45th Anniversary Season is layered with nuanced voices that scream Respect: A Musical Journey of Women, creating an unforgettable holiday offering in Motown Christmas while celebrating the Houston legacy of The Lawsons so that every Single Black Female can bear witness to the humanity engaged in Brother Toad while Sarah Sings A Love Song serving as a muse to the indelible impression of the incomparable jazz singer, Sarah Vaughn. Each story is imbedded with the Indomitable Spirit that drives us as human beings, accepting us in our wholeness, capturing our hearts and souls, making us impossible to be defeated because we will demand justice while embracing life with grace, light and love. We welcome you. We will provide a safe space for you. We will continue to tell the stories that reflect our shared human experience.
In Art's Way,
Eileen J. Morris
By DOROTHY MARCIC
Directed by ANTHONY BOGGESS-GLOVER
Choreographed by ANTHONY SMITH
Musical Direction by MELANIE C. BIVENS
SEPTEMBER 23 - OCTOBER 17, 2021
PREVIEWS: SEPTEMBER 18, 19 & 22
“Respect”, a resonating anthem of solidarity and empowerment in times of struggle and evolution was burned into the hearts of women by Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul. A story told through Top-40 music, Respect: A Musical Journey of Women combines excerpts of songs with women’s own stories about finding dreams, lost love, relationship issues, entering the workforce, gaining independence, and more. Songs such as “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “I Will Survive,” “I Will Follow Him,” “These Boots are Made for Walking,” and “What’s Love Got to Do with it” gave insight to the thoughts, emotions, and actions of women around the world.
PG MUSICAL REGIONAL PREMIERE
Book by NATE JACOBS
Directed & Choreographed by KEITH TYRONE
Musical Direction by CHIKA KABA MA'ATUNDE
NOVEMBER 18 - DECEMBER 26, 2021
PREVIEWS: NOVEMBER 13, 14 & 17
Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with this festive holiday revue. It’s the perfect blend of traditional Christmas carols paired with the soulful sounds from such Motown celebrities as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and The Jackson 5. This soulful play promises to bring back good memories and deliver a delightful Christmas treat for the entire family!
G HOLIDAY MUSICAL REVUE REGIONAL PREMIERE
Book by MELDA BEATY
Music & Lyrics by CHARRISE BARRON
Directed by EILEEN J. MORRIS
JANUARY 27 - FEBRUARY 27, 2022
PREVIEWS: JANUARY 22, 23 & 26
Is it possible to fall in love through a stack of letters? Bill and Audrey Lawson did. Sit-ins, arrests, and a bold move to start a church and change the landscape of Houston’s Third Ward not only threatened their lives but sealed their legacy in the Civil Rights Movement. The Lawsons is a visual history and musical journey of a time in African American history when courting was respectful, love transcended, faith superseded, and the fight for equality meant putting your life on the line for the greater good of humanity.
PG-13 PLAY WITH MUSIC COMMISSIONED WORLD PREMIERE
By LISA B. THOMPSON
Directed by EILEEN J. MORRIS
MARCH 24 - APRIL 17, 2022
PREVIEWS: MARCH 19, 20 & 23
Lisa Thompson’s two-woman show features rapid-fire comic vignettes that explore the lives of thirty-something African American middle class women in urban America as they search for love, clothes and dignity in a world that fails to recognize them among a parade of stereotypical images. After reviewing their escapades in past relationships and confessing mounting anxieties about future commitments they realize their best chance at love may be found closer than they ever imagined.
R COMEDY REGIONAL PREMIERE
By NATHAN LOUIS JACKSON
Directed by EILEEN J. MORRIS
MAY 12 - JUNE 5, 2022
PREVIEWS: MAY 7, 8 & 11
Eighteen-year-old black high school student Marques has “narrowly survived” being shot by a white man while sitting in a car with a friend, who was killed. As the show begins, Marques recuperates at home, listening to a sports-talk radio program hosted by his uncle, Randall, who announces an upcoming local march for safety from gun violence. The family’s reluctance to attend seems to stem from other, unclear concerns, but it’s that fear, in its many forms, that is a thread throughout this work. Do we need guns to keep ourselves safe? Playwright Nathan Louis Jackson aims to pose questions, not answer them.
PG-13 DRAMA REGIONAL PREMIERE
Written by STEPHANIE BERRY
Directed by RACHEL HEMPHILL DICKSON
Musical Direction & Arrangements by CHIKA KABA MA'ATUNDE
JUNE 30 - JULY 31, 2021
PREVIEWS: JUNE 25, 26 & 29
Sarah Sings A Love Song is a musical play that chronicles and celebrates the extraordinary love affair forged between a couple, Elaine and Russell, who have been married for over 30 years along with the music, travails, and life of Sarah Vaughan. Told through Elaine’s eyes, this jazz romance explores the first 34 years of their relationship from 1956 up to the death of Sarah Vaughan in 1990.
PG PLAY WITH MUSIC REGIONAL PREMIERE