The Ensemble Theatre pulled out the superstars Saturday night for its 40th annivesary gala, which filled the Hilton Americas-Houston with a stylish black-tie crowd of more than 600.
Stars taking bows for their various Ensemble honors were Harry Lennix of NBC's The Black List, Angela Robinson of O Network's The Have and Have Nots, Anna Maria Horsford of CBS' The Bold and the Beautiful, and singer/actor C.J. Emmons, who performs on ABC's Dancing With the Stars. Lou Gossett Jr., recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, attended via video message.
Additional awards were also presented — Houston First Corporation as Corporate Partner of the Year, METRO as Community Partner of the Year, and Mildred and Willie Bright, presented with the Founder’s Award.
The evening raised more than $600,000 thanks to the efforts of chairs Paula McCann-Harris and John Rolfe and honorary chair Janiece Longoria.
Mayor Sylvester Turner kicked off the evening with a VIP cocktail reception, setting the stage for the elegant evening. The stage was indeed set as the ballroom featured four vignettes, each representing a decade from the theater's past. Ensemble cast performers presented a piece from God's Trombones, A Raisin in the Sun, Two Trains Running and The Wiz. Adding to the entertainment quotient was KHOU Channel 11's Great Day Houston host Deborah Duncan, who served as emcee.
Key players in the evening included Ensemble board chair Argentina James, board president Alaina Benford, Ensemble artistic director Eileen J. Morris and executive director Janette Cosley.
The heavy-hitter crowd included Diedra and Terence Fontaine, Drucie Chase, Winell Herron, Dwayne Harris, Janis and Judge Levi Benton, Merele Yarborough, Steve Lasher, Jane and Dean Gladden, Sallie Morian and Michael Clark, Tony Chase, Renee Logans, Felicia Rolfe, and Rosa and Vernon Rush.