Season Lineup Box Office Artistic Info Programs Facility Rentals Support the Ensemble About the Ensemble News Room

Theatre News

E-Mail Alerts

  Media Release
CONTACT:  Robert Ross
  January 7, 2019
(713) 310-1648/ 713-520-0055
  For Immediate Release

The Ensemble Theatre Elevates the New Year with “Too Heavy for Your Pocket” by Jiréh Breon Holder

HOUSTON (January 7, 2019) – The Ensemble Theatre presents Too Heavy for Your Pocket, by Jiréh Breon Holder and Directed by Eileen J. Morris with Opening Night and Media Reception, Thursday, January 24, 2019, 6:30 p.m. 3535 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002.

Holder, inspired by the movies Selma and The Butler began his own research into the times and received a first-hand perspective from his grandmother who was a child during the Civil Rights Movement. Her account of a man she considered having thrown his education away to become a Freedom Rider resonated with Holder who was in college as the Black Lives Matter Movement was happening and struggled to decide where he fit into things.

“I’m excited by the thought of what happens when something huge is happening politically and we have to make the decision do we participate in the macro or still continue our lives day to day on the micro level?” says Holder. “The play is really about a guy who was in a similar position as me and having to make the same decision.”

In rural Tennessee at the height of the Civil Rights Movement two young couples struggle to understand justice, love, and their own responsibilities. When Bowzie gets a scholarship to attend Fisk University, he has the opportunity to improve his family’s life. His education goes beyond the classroom, as he becomes a Freedom Rider and joins the fight against racism in the Deep South, leaving his obligations as a husband and friend behind. A beautifully written look at the personal cost and private struggles behind public events, Too Heavy for Your Pocket speaks powerfully about the bonds of friendship and what defines true family.  

Featured Cast members include: Kendrick "KayB" Brown (BOWZIE BRANDON), Yunina Barbour-Payne (SALLY-MAE CARTER), Kedrick Brown (TONY CARTER), LaKeisha Randle (EVELYN BRANDON).

Previews:  January 19, 20, & 23, 2019
Show Runs: January 24 – February 24, 2019

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 Call: 713-520-0055

Ticket Prices: $23- $50

Opening Night and Media Reception, Thursday, January 24, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

About the Playwright
Jiréh Breon Holder is currently a writer on NBC's new hit show New Amesterdam. He is an Atlanta area playwright, director, and dramaturg. His sharp yet funny and often political plays frequently include wild visual metaphors and address the magic of everyday life in the South.

From 2016-2019, Jiréh served as the Playwriting Fellow of the Department of Theater and Creative Writing at Emory University. In 2016, he received his MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama where he studied with Sarah Ruhl. He is a co-founder of Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, Iowa. From 2012-13, he served as the Kenny Leon Fellow at the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre. He graduated cum laude from Morehouse College (B.A. Theatre) where he served as the artistic director of Spelman College Playwrights’ Workshop and directed several productions. 

His play Too Heavy for Your Pocket was the recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition National Graduate Playwriting Competition, and had an extended off-Broadway run at the Roundabout Theatre. He was a recipient of the 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards and honored as the Fellowship of Southern Writers' 2017 Bryan Foundation Award for Drama. 

His other plays have received productions at the Alliance Theatre, the Yale School of Drama and Yale Cabaret. He has also received readings at the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Roundabout Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and the Old Globe Theatre.
Jiréh is under commission with the Old Globe Theatre, the Roundabout Theatre, and the Manhattan Theatre Club.

The Ensemble Theatre's 2018-2019 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.

The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and enlighten, entertain and enrich a diverse community. In addition to being held as the oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest, it also holds the distinction of being one of the nation's largest African American theatres that owns and operates its facility with an in-house production team.

The Ensemble Theatre produces a main stage season of six contemporary and classic works devoted to the portrayal of the African American experience by local and national playwrights and artists. The theatre’s Performing Arts Education program provides educational workshops, Artist-in-Residence experiences and live performances for students both off-site and at the Theatre. The Young Performers Program offers intensive summer training for children ages 6 to 17 encompassing instruction in all disciplines of the theatre arts.