HOUSTON: The Ensemble Theatre is getting into the holiday spirit with the world premiere of Djembe and the Forest of Christmas Forgotten, running through Dec. 22. The “epic new musical fairy tale” by playwright/composer Carlton Leake follows a young princess named Binah who must save her cursed kingdom and restore the true spirit of Christmas by finding a lost African drum (the titular “djembe”) that signifies the balance between man and nature. Commissioned by the company, the piece is the third holiday collaboration between Leake and director Patdro Harris. In years past, the Ensemble Theatre presented Leake’s The 12 Ways of Christmas as well as his musical adaptation of the African-American Shakespeare Company’s Cinderella, which had a successful three-season run in the theatre’s holiday slot. Leake is known for infusing his musicals with the sounds of jazz, rhythm and blues and gospel.
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