updated 9/14/2010 3:45:30 AM ET 2010-09-14T07:45:30

HOUSTON, Sept. 13, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ensemble Theatre brings laughter from a small town hospital in its 2010-2011 Season kick-off, 'The Waiting Room.' Opening night and media reception is Thursday, September 23, 2010, 6:30PM.

This production will be directed by The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris. She has produced over 72 productions including four world and 50 regional premiers.

"Comedy can find us in the most unsuspecting places and state of mind," says Eileen J. Morris, The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director. "Sometimes humor is just what we need to put us at ease and bring a little healing from the inside out."

The story takes place in one of the most unlikely settings for a comedy: a hospital waiting room where friends and family gather to learn the fate of patriarch Pullen Innes, who has just fallen ill. Facing mortality has compelled many to "get right" with God, yet the temptation to "backslide" is all around. The Innes family struggles to maintain their decorum and the sanctity of their family when a shocking secret is revealed. This funny and ironic test of faith almost makes them forget their reason for being at the hospital in the first place. Their lives will never be the same!

"I hope this show unites us all with its relatable setting and characters," says Morris. "Houston's medical center maintains such an iconic presence we could all imagine this story taking place in just about any of our hospital waiting rooms."

Featured artists include The Ensemble Theatre veteran performers Rachel Hemphill Dickson, Broderick Jones, Byron Jacquet, Detria Ward, Bebe Wilson, Tisha Dorn, and John Stevens. Actor Jaime Geiger will be making his debut on The Ensemble Theatre's stage.

Previews: September 18, 19, and 22, 2010  Show Run: September 23 – October 17, 2010.

Performances: Thursdays: 7:30p.m.; Fridays: 8:00p.m.; Saturdays: 2:00p.m. and 8:00p.m.; and Sundays: 3:00p.m.

For tickets and seating availability call: 713-520-0055 or visit: www.ensemblehouston.com

Sam-Art Williams has received several award nominations in recognition of his writing abilities including: a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and two Emmy Awards. In addition to his stage credits, Williams has written for popular television sitcoms Cagney and Lacey, Miami Vice, Martin, and The Fresh Prince of Bellaire.

The Ensemble Theatre's 2010-2011 Season is sponsored in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and Texas Commission on the Arts. Continental Airlines is the exclusive airline sponsor for The Ensemble Theatre. This production is generously underwritten by Shell.

The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and to enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community. The theatre is known as the only professional theatre in its region dedicated to the production of works portraying the African American experience. In addition to being 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. Board President Emeritus Audrey Lawson led the capital campaign for The Ensemble's $4.5 million building renovations that concluded in 1997.

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