This Week in Houston’s Buzz: The Ensemble Theatre Black Tie Gala 2017

The Ensemble Theatre Black Tie Gala 2017

                 Rev. Dr. Marcus Cosby, Melanie Lawson and John Guess

On Saturday, August 19, 2017, The Ensemble Theatre held its 2017 Black Tie Gala to Celebrate Forty-One Years at the Hilton Americas-Houston. The evening program included Samica Knight (Mistress of Ceremonies), Khambrel Marshall (Master of Ceremonies), Reverend Michael Pender (Invocation), Sylvester Turner (Mayor of Houston) Opening Remarks. Over four hundred thousand dollars were raised at the gala. The Dramatic Presentations included: Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News – Featuring the Ensemble Theatre Dancers, Musical Tribute to the Honorees – Featuring Bobbi Humphrey & Andre Sims.

Gala Award Presentations included:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – S. Epatha Merkerson
  • Actress Of The Year Award – Renee Elise Goldsberry
  • President’s Award – Lauren Anderson
  • Rising Star Award – Nkrumah Gatling
  • Corporate Partner Of The Year Award – Energy Software Consultants
  • Community Partner Of The Year Award – Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church
  • Global Citizen of the Arts – Reginald Van Lee

In 1976, The Ensemble Theatre was founded by George Hawkins in Houston. His goal was to create a theatre that would provide diverse roles for black artists. The programs and operations of the theatre benefits a multicultural audience that is diverse in age, income, ethnicity and culture. The Ensemble Theatre is known as one of Houston’s finest historical cultural institutions.

This year’s gala honorary chairs include the Honorable Rodney Ellis & Licia Green-Ellis and Martin Fein & Kelli Cohen Fein. This year’s gala chairs are Merele Gail Yarborough and Jane Page. The Ensemble executive leadership includes Argentina James (Ensemble Board Chair), Alaina Benford (Ensemble Board President), Janette Cosley (Ensemble Executive Director) and Eileen Morris (Ensemble Artistic Director). The Ensemble Theatre would like to thank their 2017 Ensemble Theatre Gala Sponsors and the Gala Committee for all of their hard work. For more information about the Ensemble Theatre visit their website at

                                                            Reginald Van Lee

                                        Shawntell and Keith McWilliams

                  Texas State Rep. Ron Reynolds and Dr. Jonita Reynolds

Mrs. Loren Lane and Texas Southern University President Dr. Austin Lane

                                    Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner