Lee College Theatre to open season Sept. 21 with ‘Peril on the Mighty Mississippi’

Program will expand style and variety of productions this year for students & audiences

BAYTOWN, TX – Lee College Theatre will begin its 2017-18 performance season with a traditional melodrama that takes audiences on the maiden voyage of the Mighty Mississipp’, a riverboat bound for New Orleans with nefarious villains, wealthy passengers and a noble deckhand all aboard for a madcap adventure.

“Peril on the Mighty Mississippi, or a Disaster of Titanic Proportions” will debut at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21 at the Performing Arts Center on campus. Additional performances are set for 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23, with a matinee at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 24. Tickets are available online at www.lee.edu/pac or by contacting the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

Written by Donald Mellen, “Peril on the Mighty Mississippi” is the kind of frivolous and laugh-happy comedy that will bring more zaniness to the stage than many audiences are accustomed to seeing, according to technical theater instructor Kim Martin.

“It takes place on a paddle wheel riverboat and the hero, the heroine and various villains will encounter enough obstacles to foil most mortals – but in melodrama theatre, the good guys always come out on top,” Martin said. “And the audience gets to help by throwing popcorn at all of them.”

Lee College Theatre is expanding the style and variety of the shows they produce this season to challenge students and give them more opportunities to grow in their craft and pursue their dreams. Notable productions will include “A Year with Frog and Toad” in November, “Christmas Express” in December, “The Grapes of Wrath” in February, “Man of La Mancha” in late June and even some shows that will allow students to try out their directing skills in front of a live audience.

The level of quality and entertainment provided to the local community rivals that of college theatre programs across the Houston area, Martin said.

“Our audiences, Lee College students and staff and community supporters as well, can witness a delightful variety of shows,” he said. “We have a pleasant and congenial comedy for Christmas, a musical to delight young and old this fall, and an epic dramatization of one of the greatest novels of American literature. Everyone should put these shows on their cultural calendar.”

For more information about Lee College Theatre, including a full schedule of upcoming performances, visit www.lee.edu/theatre or contact Martin at hmartin@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit http://www.lee.edu.

‘Nutcracker’ and ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ return to Lee College

The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker at Lee College in 2012

BAYTOWN, TX — After performing holiday favorite “The Nutcracker” for three years in front of sold-out crowds – and with live accompaniment from the Baytown Symphony Orchestra since 2013 — the Bay Area Houston Ballet and Theatre (BAHBT) will return to Lee College this month to delight audiences with the beloved story of young Clara and her magical Christmas toy.

Three performances of “The Nutcracker” are scheduled for the Main Performance Hall at the Lee College Performing Arts Center (PAC): 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17, and a matinee set for 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 18. Tickets are priced at $20-45 and available for purchase online at www.lee.edu/pac or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

Tea Time with the Sugar Plum Fairy, 2013
Tea Time with the Sugar Plum Fairy, 2013

The only professional ballet company in the Bay Area with residence at the University of Houston Clear Lake, BAHBT has performed “The Nutcracker” for audiences in the Houston area for more than 40 years. The group produces a season each year in their performing residence at the University of Houston-Clear Lake that includes an eclectic array of ballets and musicals.

Families can create a special Christmas memory or start a new holiday tradition at “Tea Time with the Sugar Plum Fairy,” where children will meet and have their photo taken with one of the most iconic characters in “The Nutcracker,” known for her beautiful dance in the second act.

The ruler of the Kingdom of Sweets will greet, dance and spend time with children at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. in the PAC lobby, before the Saturday evening performance of “The Nutcracker.” Tickets for the tea are $25 and can also be purchased at www.lee.edu/pac or by contacting the Box Office.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Texas Tenors to return with special sound & cowboy charm

Concert on Sept. 30 will be trio’s third appearance at the Performing Arts Center

The Texas TenorsBAYTOWN, TX — After lighting up the stage on the nationally televised competition show “America’s Got Talent,” winning three Emmy Awards for their PBS concert special and selling out the Lee College Performing Arts Center (PAC) for two different performances, The Texas Tenors are returning to the PAC this month to delight audiences with their incredible vocals and signature cowboy charm.

“The Texas Tenors: Let Freedom Sing!” is set for 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30, in the PAC Main Hall. Tickets are $45-65 and available for purchase online now at www.lee.edu/pac, or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

Since their whirlwind television debut and fourth-place finish on “America’s Got Talent” in 2009, The Texas Tenors have performed their unique blend of country, classical, Broadway and pop music in more than 1,000 concerts around the world and on their PBS special, “You Should Dream.” PBS plans to air a second concert special with The Texas Tenors in 2017.

The trio — made up of singers and classically trained musicians Marcus Collins, John Hagen and JC Fisher — cover a diverse repertoire that showcases their individual vocal talents and lush harmonies, while exploring everything from Alabama to Puccini and Bruno Mars. Their 2013 country-themed album, “You Should Dream,” reached the Top 10 and features traditional favorites like “God Bless the USA” and “Unchained Melody,” as well as two original songs and the backing of a 65-piece orchestra.

In 2014, Billboard magazine named The Texas Tenors the No. 10 classical artists in the world, and the group is routinely the premiere attraction in the tourist hub of Branson, Mo., where they perform 60 concerts at the Starlite Theatre each year. Beyond the concert halls and packed arenas, the “three friends with a dream” have made several televised performances and contributed to numerous charitable causes, including The Child Fund International, Homes for Our Troops and The Mission Project. The Texas Tenors pride themselves on remaining self-produced, self-managed and committed to providing quality entertainment for families and fans of all ages.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Student group sponsors benefit for Flint water crisis victims

BAYTOWN, TX – Students in the Reaching Excellence Against Limitations (R.E.A.L.) Organization at Lee College are hosting a benefit May 10 for Flint, Mich., residents still reeling from lead contamination in the city’s tap water.

“Let’s be Real for Flint,” is set for 3:30-7 p.m. in the Student Center on campus. The event is free and open to the public, and will include entertainment from a live DJ, a silent auction, a bake sale and complimentary refreshments for those who attend.

Cash donations and cases of bottled water will be accepted at the benefit and sent to Flint to help victims of the water crisis, which has created a public health emergency that has lasted more than 2 years. Lead exposure can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in children, and kidney ailments and other health problems in adults — and while treatments are available that reduce the levels of lead in the blood, there is not yet a cure for lead poisoning.

Launched at Lee College in 2015, R.E.A.L. is a student organization that aims to educate and empower black males by enhancing their skills and creating positive change. The group recognizes four pillars: educating the black male on who he was, is and can be; empowering the black male voice on campus and helping put their thoughts in action; enhancing member skills to form a strong foundation from which they can build their futures; and creating a campus climate that helps increase retention rates for black male students.

For more information about the upcoming “Let’s be Real for Flint” benefit, contact R.E.A.L. adviser Jessica Falla at 281.425.6421 or jfalla@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Tickets still available for Celtic Nights

Celtic Nights

BAYTOWN, TX — A cast of the best singers, dancers and musicians from the British Isles will bring a rhythmic and rousing celebration of 100 years of Irish independence to the Lee College Performing Arts Center (PAC) this weekend, and tickets are still available.

“Celtic Nights – Spirit of Freedom” is set for 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 16, in the PAC main hall. Tickets for the show start at $25 and can be purchased online at www.lee.edu/pac or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

After first performing at Lee College in 2014, Celtic Nights will now lead the audience on a musical journey of patriotism, revenge, love and courage taken straight from the pages of Ireland’s history. The production is inspired by the Easter Rising of 1916, when Irish nationalists took up arms to rebel against the presence of the British government in their country. Though it was ultimately suppressed, the Irish people considered the uprising a triumph because it revived their hopes and dreams for liberty.

With songs, laughter, music, dance and stirring visuals, the cast of Celtic Nights weaves individual story lines into the narrative — sharing the courage and sacrifice of Irish heroes and heroines fighting for independence, and encapsulating the passion and spirit of freedom that remain in the country even today.

“We’re confident that this story will resonate strongly with American audiences; indeed, with all people who cherish freedom, independence and democracy,” said Michael Durkan, show producer. “The show brings together story lines from Ireland’s history book, but in a way that engages the audience’s mind, heart and spirit. They might be laughing one minute, pondering the next, maybe wiping away a tear.”

Lee College is one of 54 stops that Celtic Nights will make as part of its latest North American tour. Rebekah Shearer, co-producer of “Spirit of Freedom” and a singer who performs in the show, attributes the cast’s growing following to the way they are able to make audience members a part of the magic.

“One of my favorite parts of the show is the ‘unplugged’ section, where the cast comes to the lip of the stage in an informal way to talk, to sing songs, to lead the audience in singing along,” Shearer said. “It becomes a real Irish party, like one would find in a pub. It’s not just a show, it’s a friendship. It’s brilliant.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Free jazz concerts at the PAC

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College’s own Thursday Night Band and Bayou Big Band will take the stage at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) for a free, jazz-filled weekend that will also feature an improv clinic and concert from Michael Davis, the acclaimed trombonist and composer widely known for his work with The Rolling Stones and the legendary Frank Sinatra.

Michael Davis
Michael Davis

The first of two free events bound for the PAC Main Hall is “Jazz @ Lee College,” set for 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 8. Both the Thursday Night Band and Bayou Big Band will perform at the annual concert, which will include a mix of old and new big band-style instrumentals.

The GCIC Jazz Fest will begin at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 9, in the PAC Main Hall. Various ensembles from the Texas Gulf Coast community colleges will perform on stage throughout the morning and afternoon, with the Thursday Night Band and Bayou Big Band from Lee College set for 4 and 4:30 p.m., respectively. Davis will offer an improv clinic at 1 p.m., and return to the stage at 7:30 p.m. for a performance with the GCIC Directors Band. The Campus Activities Board is sponsoring his appearance.

Born in San Francisco, Davis quickly found his stride with the trombone in high school and attended college at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. His big break came in 1983 with a call to sign on with the Buddy Rich Band. Three years later, Davis’ career as a freelance recording artist began in earnest and he quickly developed a reputation as one of the best trombonists in the business. In addition to touring and recording with The Rolling Stones since 1994 and Sinatra from 1988-1994, he has also worked with Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett, Jay-Z, Sarah Vaughan, Sting, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Paul Simon, and dozens of others in a career that has spanned three decades.

As a music educator, Davis has taught workshops and clinics for students around the world and written instructional books and arrangements for musicians at every skill level. He is the founder, creator and president of Hip-Bone Music, Inc. — through which he maintains his own jazz groups and projects — and the recipient of multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. Davis has released nine solo CDs and composed more than 150 works during his career, and appeared on more than 500 CDs and motion picture soundtracks. In 2011, the S.E. Shires Company introduced the special edition Michael Davis Trombone in his honor.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Hilarious musical comedy ‘The Addams Family’ opens Thursday

BAYTOWN, TX — They’re creepy, kooky and all together ooky — and they’re coming to the Lee College Performing Arts Center (PAC) this week as daughter Wednesday grows up and finds love in the hilarious new Broadway musical comedy, “The Addams Family.”

The Lee College production of “The Addams Family” will debut on the PAC main stage at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 3. Additional performances will be held at 7:30 nightly Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, with a matinee set for 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 6.

Tickets for the show are $15 for the general public; $10 for college students, faculty and staff; and $5 for children aged 10 years old and younger. Purchase tickets online at www.lee.edu/pac, or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

“The Addams Family” musical follows the morbid and macabre characters made popular in the 1960s television series and nostalgically revived in two 1990s movies: parents Gomez and Morticia, children Wednesday and Pugsley, beloved Uncle Fester, fortune-telling Grandma and loyal butler Lurch. The curtain rises on their annual gathering in the family graveyard, where their dead ancestors emerge from the tombs each year to celebrate the enduring spirit and continuity of the Addams clan.

Wednesday, now 18, has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke — a young man from Ohio whose Middle American background is a stark contrast to the Addams’ dark and ghoulish roots, much to Gomez and Morticia’s consternation. Wednesday and Lucas want to get married but won’t make it down the aisle unless their families find common ground over a less-than-normal dinner at the Addams mansion.

“The Addams Family” at Lee College is under the direction of Visual and Performing Arts Division faculty Kim Martin, John Weinel and Ken Booker.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.