Live It, Love It, Celebrate! Ensemble Theatre Gala
Nkrumah Gatling, Alaina Benford, S. Epatha Merkerson, Merele Yarborough, Jane-Page Crump, Renee Goldsberry
The love of fine arts has always been something that has unified people of all ages, races, religions, and backgrounds. Whether it’s music, dance, acting, or theater, there is something about the arts that one can share a common love, passion, and respect for.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the Live It, Love It, Celebrate! Gala at the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel downtown. The gala celebrated the historic Ensemble Theatre, and the great achievements and impact that the institution has made in the diverse arts community.
The Ensemble Theatre’s mission is to preserve African-American artistic expression, in a way that enlightens, entertains, and enriches a diverse community. The theatre has been operating in Houston for four decades and has produced beautifully, esteemed talent that has performed globally.
Many Houstonians and guests came to celebrate the Ensemble Theater and it’s successes, and to honor it’s supporters. The gala also recognized those, whose incredible contributions to the arts and to the theatre, have helped create opportunities, growth, and inspiration for artists and those involved in the industry.
Among those being honored was actress S. Epatha Merkerson with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Merkerson is best known for her role of Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on NBC’s Law and Order, and she currently is on the NBC series Chicago Med. Also being awarded with the Actress of the Year award was Renee Elise Goldsberry. Renee has received the Tony Award, Grammy Award, Drama Award, and the Lucille Nortel Award for her performance in the Broadway musical, Hamilton. She made her Broadway debut in The Lion King and performed in Rent. Renee has also appeared on film in the popular movie, “Sisters”, and “Every Secret Thing”.
The other honorees were rising stars Nkrumah Gatling and Lauren Anderson with the Presidents Award, and Reginald Van Lee who was awarded with the Global Citizen of the Arts Award.
Also present were Khambrel Marshall with KPRC Local 2, and Samica Knight with ABC 13, emceeing the evening’s event.
It was a night to remember with phenomenal musical and dance performances, a silent auction, a wonderful dinner, and dancing to end the celebration. The Live It, Love It, Celebrate! Gala was a beautiful success that celebrated and honored the Ensemble Theatre and its mission in advancing the cause, preserving the culture and diversity, and celebrating the common bond of love and passion for the arts.