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.

Production of comedy farce ‘Play On!’ opens Feb. 17

BAYTOWN, TX — An energetic cast of students and talented special guests will perform in the Lee College Theatre production of the lighthearted comedic farce “Play On!,” set to premiere this Friday, Feb. 17, at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on campus.

“Play On!” will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the PAC Black Box Theatre. Additional performances will be held at 7:30 p.m., nightly on Feb. 18, 24 and 25. Tickets for all four shows are available for purchase online at www.lee.edu/pac, or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

Written by Rick Abbot, “Play On!” begins as the local community theatre rehearses for their production of a new murder mystery called “Murder Most Foul.” The anxious cast members, backstage support and director Gerry feel under siege from the meddling amateur playwright, who agreed to let the company perform the show for no charge. Gerry thought producing the play would be a good idea but had no inkling of the disasters that awaited her – namely, an overwhelmingly sloppy and slapdash murder mystery with no real murder in the plot, a disgruntled cast and a playwright who deletes the entire sound effect board and keeps changing the story and script just two days before its premiere. All of these calamities come to fruition in Act III, when the company performs the actual show with hilarious mishaps and missteps at every turn.

Directed by guest artist Marc Anthony Glover with the production guidance of Lee College theater instructor Kim Martin, the “Play On!” cast includes students Samantha Duran, Abigail Vernier, Alexis Grusecki and Beth Powell. Alumnus Triston Haq also appears, along with special guests Susan Walker, Josh Figueroa, Bryan Rivera and Bailey Smith. Alex Musgrove will make her first local appearance in the show since returning to Baytown from New York City.

Chad Arrington and Alyssa Torres will be stage managers for the production, with Amy Miller Martin and Blaine Glover-Garcia serving as assistant directors. Rounding out the technical crew are Logan Romero, Gilbert Perez, Aria Giacona, Sonia Valdovinos, Josh Gonzales, Alyssa Carter and John Arrington.

The final Lee College Theatre production of the 2016-17 season will be William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which will debut at the PAC in late April. Open auditions for the play will be held Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 27-28. For more details about “Play On!” or the upcoming auditions, 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 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Glenn Miller Orchestra swinging into PAC in March

The Glenn Miller orchestra performs on stage. A band leader stands before brass, woodwinds, and a piano player.BAYTOWN, TX — The world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra – known for the legendary dance bandleader who founded the beloved group and dominated the Swing Era of the 1930s and 1940s with a matchless string of hit records – will bring the classic sounds of big-band music to the Lee College Performing Arts Center (PAC) next month.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform on the PAC main stage at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, March 5. Tickets are $20-40 and available for purchase online at http://www.lee.edu/pac, or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

First launched by Miller in March 1938, the orchestra is now an 18-member ensemble that continues to play many of his original arrangements. The group’s repertoire also includes modern selections arranged and performed in the iconic Miller style and sound, and music from the famed Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band that entertained servicemen in live concerts and radio shows during World War II. Fan favorites like “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” are all part of the regular program, along with lesser-known tunes like “The White Cliffs of Dover,” “Rainbow Rhapsody” and “Everybody Loves My Baby.”

In true big-band fashion, the Glenn Miller Orchestra is on the road longer and more continuously than any other in the world – covering more than 100,000 miles per year and working nearly every night for 48 weeks out of the year. The orchestra performs for more than 500,000 people annually, entertaining crowds throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia and South and Central America. “Moonlight Serenade,” the beautiful theme of the orchestra in the 1940s that was composed by Miller himself, remains their signature tune today.

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.

‘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.

Kosins to be special guest at free ‘Jazz Night @ Lee College’

Kathy Kosins
Kathy Kosins

BAYTOWN, TX — Award-winning jazz singer and songwriter Kathy Kosins will bring her internationally acclaimed vocals and eclectic musical palette to Lee College as the special guest star at the free “Jazz Night @ Lee College” concert set for Friday, Nov. 11, at the Performing Arts Center (PAC).

Jazz Night @ Lee College will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the PAC Main Performance Hall. The show is open the public, and tickets are not required.

Born and bred during the Motown era of Detroit, Kosins was a sought-after session singer throughout the 1980s, known for singing and arranging background vocals for producer Don Was. After finding and falling in love with the freedom and artistry of jazz music, she completed stints with the JC Heard and Nelson Riddle orchestras and released “All In A Dream’s Work” in 1996. The debut album featured original songs and a cover of “Four” by Miles Davis, earning Kosins play on 250 jazz stations across the country.

Kosins recorded multiple albums throughout the 2000s, including “Mood Swings” in 2002 and “To The Ladies Of Cool” in 2012. For “The Space Between,” released in 2013, she worked in the studio with some of the best musicians in Los Angeles to bring new life to little-known records by Shirley Horn and Nat King Cole, among others. Her newest album — the sultry and intimate “Uncovered Soul” — will also feature rarely heard records by legendary and contemporary soul performers like Curtis Mayfield, Eugene McDaniels, Aaron Neville, and Amos Lee.

Described by critics as “one of the most alluring voices in jazz” and “a joy to listen to,” Kosins has toured and performed at events and venues throughout the U.S. and Europe — from jazz festivals in France and Switzerland to clubs and concert halls in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Chicago.

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.

Lee to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with exhibit, reception & workshop

BAYTOWN, TX – Lee College invites the community to join its celebration of Dia de los Muertos, which will include an exhibit featuring original artwork created by students and a hands-on workshop that will give participants the chance to make their own art pieces inspired by the Mexican holiday.

Presented by the Visual and Performing Arts Division in conjunction with International Education, the Dia de Los Muertos Art Exhibit will open with a reception to be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27, inside the Performing Arts Center gallery on campus. Houston-based artist Laura Lopez Cano — known for her work capturing the beauty, strength, elegance and pride of Latinas and all women of color — will also guide attendees through the process of creating their own holiday artwork. The reception and workshop are free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Also known as the “Day of the Dead,” Dia de los Muertos is dedicated to remembering the lives and legacies of family and friends who have passed away. Students produced “retablos” — devotional artwork that stems from Latin American culture — as part of the holiday celebration. Their poignant, personal and colorful pieces will adorn the walls of the gallery through Sunday, Nov. 20.

“We’re honoring the past,” said Elena Poirot, an art instructor at Lee College. “Students chose what they wanted to do; some are traditional, some are non-traditional. We want people to come, enjoy, participate and learn.”

For more information about the Dia de Los Muertos Art Exhibit, reception and workshop at Lee College, contact the Visual and Performing Arts Division at 281.425.6821 or ddehoyos@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 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Wanted: Singers, songwriters & musicians for Lee College Coffeehouse

BAYTOWN, TX — Singers, songwriters and musicians who have been looking for a way to showcase their original work are invited to audition for the Lee College Coffeehouse, an annual concert that shines a light on talented artists in the local community.

The Coffeehouse, hosted by the Lee College Music Club, is set for 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23, at the Black Box Theater inside the Lee College Performing Arts Center. The concert gives artists and musicians the opportunity to share their craft with a broad audience, within the warm and creative atmosphere that has long been part of the traditional coffeehouse scene where many performers have gotten their start.

The special guest for this year’s Coffeehouse will be the Baytown-based Hound, an experimental western rock and metal fusion band. The college will provide all performers with clear, high-quality, professional sound that highlights their best qualities — and the Audio Department will offer a free recording session in the state-of-the-art studio on campus.

Singers, songwriters and musicians who want to participate in this year’s Coffeehouse should contact Dr. Ken Booker, director of Instrumental Music, at kbooker@lee.edu to schedule an audition time. All auditions will be held by appointment only.

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.