The Ensemble Theatre Presents KING HEDLEY II, Opening 5/10


The Ensemble Theatre continues its 35th Anniversary Season celebration with King Hedley II, written by August Wilson and directed by Eileen J. Morris, Opening Night and Media Reception, Thursday, May 10, 2012, 6:30 p.m.

"My commitment to August Wilson is fueled by having known him professionally, and understanding the relevance of keeping the legacy of his work alive," says Morris. "I'm honored to work with artists whom each share in my commitment and have all been recognized for their work in his productions."

The Ensemble Theatre celebrates its completion of the Pittsburgh ten-play cycle with the upcoming presentation of King Hedley II. Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris will become the only female director in the world to direct eight plays of Wilson's entire cycle. Set Designer James V. Thomas has designed nine August Wilson's shows and had his work on Seven Guitars chosen for an exhibit in The Architecture Center Houston.

King Hedley II is about a man who wants a good life, a life that always seems just out of reach. Rather than combat a society that is keeping him down, he retreats to nature. He tries to start from scratch by growing a garden of his own from a few precious seeds. Just as a garden needs fertile soil to grow, social conditions need to be supportive in order for mankind to flourish. The Pittsburgh Hill District in 1985 was like working the soil with no rain or sun in sight. Unemployment and violent crime were on the rise. The hope is that Hedley, like his newly planted flowers, might have a new life.

King Hedley II follows the characters created by August Wilson in Seven Guitars, in which a group of friends give account of incidents they believe lead to the murder of a popular musician. King Hedley II is a story of hope and forgiveness. Audiences will be guided on a journey that identifies with The Common man who bears both physical and emotional scars, yet still dreams.

Featured cast members include: Los Angeles based actor Ben Cain, makes is return to The Ensemble Theatre where he was last seen in August Wilson's Radio Golf; Rachel Hemphill Dickson, U of H Downtown adjunct theatre professor who last performed in The Ballad of Emmett Till and Cinderella; Wayne DeHart most recently seen in the barbershop comedy, Cuttin Up, and winner of the 2011 Ensemble Theatre George Hawkins Award; Broderick "Brod J" Jones whose most recent Ensemble Theatre performances include Cuttin Up, The Ballad of Emmett Till, and Lotto: Experience the Dream; Bebe Wilson, Ensemble Theatre veteran actress last seen in Cinderella; and Wilbert Wilson, who had appearances in the HBO series Treme', is making his return to Houston from Slidell, Louisiana.

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