Oscar Hammerstein adapted this beloved opera into an African-American Broadway musical. The classic story of the bewitching Carmen is set in 1943 at a parachute factory, with all of Bizet’s famous music.
Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes, including intermission
Zelda Carmen (Cindy Lou) is extremely thrilled to be a part of Carmen Jones with the Ensemble Theatre Company! They are a recent graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA NY) and a proud Richmond, VA native. Some of their favorite/recent credits include Cinderella (Charlotte u/s, Ensemble) at North Shore Music Theatre, Lizzie the Musical (Lizzie & Alice u/s) with 5th Wall Theatre, Xanadu (Erato/Dance Captain) at the Lynn Theatre, and Blues For Mister Charlie (Ensemble) with The Conciliation Project. When not performing Zelda enjoys writing silly strange short films and musicals, learning new roller skating tricks, and exploring everything their new home, NYC, has to offer. “Many thanks to the entire creative team, cast, and crew, and especially Brian at Hell’s Kitchen Agency! Much love to my village, I truly would not be here without you all!!” Instagram: @GetWazzy
Nataley Carter (Myrt) is thrilled to be a part of the Carmen Jones cast. She is a BFA graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. Nataley is an actress starring in lead short film roles and television supporting roles. Her passion is storytelling and credits the theater for birthing her passion. She is also a singer and fitness model making her breakthrough in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles
Ashli Ferguson (Sally) is excited to be making her professional debut with the Ensemble Theater Company of Santa Barbara. The Michigan native is a proud graduate of Howard University. She has also trained at the William Esper Studio in New York and Margie Haber Studio in Los Angeles. Notable credits include the award-winning web series TOP 5, Into The Woods (Michigan Youth Theater) and a staged reading of A Raisin in the Sun (Howard University).
Christopher James Hester (Rum) is an actor, model, and singer living in the Los Angeles area. This summer, Hester was a featured tenor soloist in Disneyland’s “Celebrate Soulfully” with the acapella group “Philly Phonics”. Hester has enjoyed singing in LA for the past two years. Recent credits include Sound of Music at La Mirada Theater, Camille at Santa Clarita Shakespeare festival, and being a background singer and featured soloist in Broadway at the Bourbon Room in Hollywood. In addition to singing, Christopher is featured on HBO Max’ Gwen Shamblin, and Netflix’ The Woman in the House, starring Kristen Bell and Michael Ealy. As a print model, Christopher can be seen in the first national commercial for Torrid, a fashion brand representing size diversity, still airing across the country. When not performing, Christopher maintains a small voice studio where he utilizes his Masters Degree in Vocal Pedagogy (Boston Conservatory 18’). Hester can be seen in his LA Opera debut this fall in Omar, one of few operas inspired and produced by people of color. He will also be returning to Disneyland for their Christmas series this winter. Hester strives to make space for other singers, performers and models of color with the notion that our quirks and differences are what make us special.
Michael Howard-Dossett (Sargant Brown/ Higgins) made his “life” debut at the Balboa Naval Hospital in sunny San Diego, California. Because he is the youngest of two children born to a singer Father and model Mother, he knows very well the love and passion of performance. This love for performance has most recently afforded him the opportunity to learn from the dynamic Sterling K. Brown and Mark Duplass, while working with them on Biosphere, a Duplass Brothers Production directed by Mel Eslyn. Michael received his first writing and directing credits a couple months before starting Biosphere, while starring in a short film, “Retreat”. He can also be found on TV, as he has guest starred in “My Crazy love” on the Oxygen Network and the Discovery Channel’s “A Crime to Remember”. Some of Michaels favorite theater roles he has played are Ralph D in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Motherfucker with The Hat, Elegba in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother Size, Xavier in Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline, and Margian in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra In the fall of 2018, Michael decided to take his training in acting to the next level, by beginning the MFA Acting program at the University of Southern California. He graduated Spring 2021. Prior to this, he attended Norfolk State University and graduated earning a Bachelor of Music. Michael’s love for performance is also rooted in his love and talent in singing, which has created many opportunities, including singing and performing with Janelle Monae on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert”, modeling in Kanye West’s Madison Square Garden Fashion Show, and singing with Jazz Legend Lalah Hathaway. Michael shows no signs of slowing down and with this momentum, he is definitely somebody to keep a close eye on.
Constance Jewell Lopez (Franky) is honored to be back performing at Ensemble Theatre Company. She previously portrayed Strawberry Woman in their production of Porgy and Bess. Born in Memphis and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she began her career as a vocalist, then toured years as a backup singer for Huey Lewis and the News. Constance is thankful for all opportunities blessed upon her. She now resides in Los Angeles with her loving husband, Jaime, and their two kitties, Eartha Kitty and CataLena Horne. Theatre credits include Effie White/ Dreamgirls (DOMA), Sofia/ The Color Purple (Celebration Theatre), Patience/ An Enemy Of The People (Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum), Deloris Van Cartier/ Sister Act (Musical Theatre West), Sister Rosetta Tharpe/ Marie And Rosetta (Vermont Stage), Mrs. Phelps/ Matilda, The Musical (La Mirada Theatre), Millie/ Trouble in Mind (Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum), Lulu Buffington/ Violet (Actors Co-op), Aretha Franklin/ Beehive (Center Rep), Gypsy, The Acid Queen/ The Who’s Tommy (East West Players), Snug the Joiner – Lion/ A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum), BJ/ Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Center Rep). Television: “Adam Ruins Everything,” “Famous In Love,” NBC’s “The Office”. Constance is represented by Shushu Entertainment. constancejewelllopez.com
Fredericka Meek (Carmen Jones) Ensemble Theater Company Debut. Tours: Take A Shot (Maxine-Original Cast), Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” (Coquette), Celticfusion (Lead Female Vocalist). Pre-Broadway Workshop: Car Wash the Musical: The Norman Whitfield Story (Bunny). World Premiere: Unsung Sheroes (Lead-Anarcha Westcott) Encore Producer’s Pick at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and an official selection in the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival. Partial TV & Film: ABC’s General Hospital (recurring), Mommies: An American Parody, Blackbird*, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, F/X’s Anger Management, ABC’s Work It, TBS’s CONAN, TNT’s Franklin & Bash, NBC’s Tonight Show, Fox TV’s Head Cases. Recipient of an NAACP Theatre Award for Best Supporting Blactress, this rising star is no stranger to the comedy scene, headlining Comedy Festivals in both LA and abroad, winning Best Ensemble Cast and Best Comedy Series at LAWeb Fest, and being nominated for Best Comedy Short at the Trail Dance Film Festival. Fredericka is beyond thrilled to step into this iconic role. IG: @FrederickaPatricia. Twitter: @FrederickaMeek. www.FrederickaMeek.com *Now airing on Amazon Prime Video
Desmond Newson (Dink) is in a season of abundance! He is immeasurably grateful to be a part of the ETC family. Desmond has been seen in Hamilton (1st National); Motown: The Musical (Broadway); FLY (Pasadena Playhouse/Off-Broadway); Dreamgirls: 35th Anniversary (The Ford), featuring the original Dreamgirls – Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, and Tony Award Winner, Jennifer Holliday; Kinky Boots (The Hollywood Bowl); and Blues for an Alabama Sky (Mark Taper Forum), directed by the incomparable Phylicia Rashad. Beyond the stage, Desmond is an exceptional storyteller and musical playwright. He will use his appellation to help create a more authentic, Black, narrative in entertainment. As a director, his work and artistry have been featured at Disney during Black Music Month for “Celebrate Soulfully.” Being an adjunct professor and instructor, his goal is to empower the next generation of creative artists to strive for excellence. IG: 1000u.1me
Chauncey Packer (Joe) In the 2022-2023 season, Chauncey Packer returns to The Metropolitan Opera to sing Bardolfo in Falstaff and Luis Rodrigo Griffith in Champion. He also makes his role debut as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel at New Orleans Opera and brings his celebrated Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess to Germany’s NDR Elbphilharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Packer recently made his role debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca and as Jo, the Loiterer in Mother of us All at Chautauqua Opera, returned to The Metropolitan Opera as Spinner in Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in my Bones, a role he reprised in 2022 with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and also sang Robbins/Crab Man in The Metropolitan Opera’s Porgy and Bess. This versatile tenor honed his craft in theater and musical theater productions including Baby, The Wizard of Oz, School House Rock Live, and Big River. He performed in Paris’ Louvre Museum in European choreographer/director Robyn Orlin’s Babysitting Petit Louis. In 2013-2014, he was cast in the First National Broadway Tour of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess as the Honey Man and Sportin’ Life cover. Mr. Packer is featured on several commercial recording releases including Nashville Symphony’s Porgy and Bess on Decca Records and Paragon Ragtime Symphony’s Treemonisha and Black Manhattan Volume 3, both on New World Records. He is featured to critical acclaim in San Francisco Opera’s DVD release of Francesca Zambello’s Porgy and Bess. He is originally from southern Alabama.
Troy D. Wallace (Husky Miller) is ecstatic to be back on the West Coast and making his Ensemble Theatre debut! He was most recently seen as Duke Henderson in Sh-Boom!, Life Could Be a Dream at Sierra Repertory Theatre. Other regional Credits include: Willard Hewitt in American Stage in the Park’s production of Footloose; Fish in The Royale at TheatreSquared; John Hunter/Ensemble in Treasure Island (Maine State Music Theatre); George Murchison in A Raisin in the Sun (American Stage Theatre Co); and Sonny in In the Heights (Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe). Film and TV credits include: Jeff in “Kevin Can F*ck Himself” on AMC; Grown Noah in “Mandingo” (Sundance), Damon in “Laugh Now, Cry Later”; He is a proud member of Actors Equity Association with a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University. He thanks his family, chosen family, and loving partner Ashley for their constant support. Follow him on instagram @troydwallace!
Jonathan Fox (Director/Artistic Director) joined ETC in 2006. His most recent ETC productions were American Son, Lillian, Measure for Measure, and Everything is Illuminated. He adapted and directed ETC’s 2017 production of Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives. Other ETC productions include Porgy and Bess, Macbeth, Sweeney Todd, Woyzeck, Amadeus, A Little Night Music, The Liar, Crime and Punishment, and a dozen others. He directed Opera Santa Barbara’s 2019 production of Eugene Onegin and 2014 production of The Consul. He collaborated with the Santa Barbara Symphony on their Shakespeare and Valentine’s Day concerts, and recently directed their production of The Soldier’s Tale. His ETC productions of The Invisible Hand in 2018 and Bad Jews in 2016 both traveled to Frankfurt. Other European productions include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, A Streetcar Named Desire, Visiting Mr. Green, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at The English Theatre Frankfurt, and Old Wicked Songs, Crimes of the Heart, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Vienna English Theatre. Before joining ETC, Mr. Fox spent 12 years with Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, which he helped establish in 1994. He served as Managing Director of the company from 1994-99 and subsequently became its Artistic Director. For Two River, he directed their 2016 world-premiere production of Lives of Reason. His production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was profiled in American Theatre Magazine, as was his festival of work by Samuel Beckett. His directing work has been seen in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cologne, and has received critical acclaim in The New York Times, Variety, the LA Times, and other publications. He received his MFA from Columbia University and is a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship. He has served as an adjunct faculty member in theater departments at UCSB, Columbia University, University of Utah, and Monmouth University.
William Foster McDaniel is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at Capital University in his native Columbus, Ohio. He earned his Master of Music degree at Boston University and continued his studies in Paris, France as a Fulbright Scholar. Based in New York, Mr. McDaniel musical directed and conducted Broadway Musicals throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. In that capacity he brought three National Tours, back to back, to Los Angeles: Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, and Timbuktu! (starring Eartha Kitt), both at the Pantages, and the original cast of Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the Aquarius Theatre. Since recently relocating to L.A. Mr. McDaniel has musical directed Blues In The Night at the Ebony Repertory Theatre and at the Beverly O’Neill Theatre in Long Beach, CA. Mr. McDaniel utilized his Pandemic “free time” to study, record and post his interpretation of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” on YouTube.
Lisa Ruffin started her career at eight years old in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a multi-talented performer and an award-winning choreographer. After completing her education at The Juilliard School in New YorkCity, she moved to Los Angeles and has worked consistently in the entertainment industry with some of the most successful artist, from Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner to Beyonce. Lisa’s first professional job, she choreographed was “Kool and the Gang’s”, “Joanna” video, which won an American Music Award. She is the youngest African American female to choreograph a Broadway Stage production, Up Close and Personal at the Lunt Fontaine Theatre. She has also performed on the Broadway stage. Lisa has choreographed and taught in over 20 Countries. An exciting project Lisa choreographed was Paul Allen’s $420 million dollar “Experience Music Project” and “Funk Blast,” produced by Digital Domain. She recently worked at University of Southern California where she choreographed Spring Awakening and Seize The King. Lisa is glad to be back at the Ensemble Theatre, where she choreographed In the Continuum, which was directed by Saundra McClain. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA, and SDC.
François-Pierre Couture is originally from Montreal and has had the privilege of working in LosAngeles and the United States for the last decade as a scenic, lighting and projection designer. He has been teaching at East Los Angeles College, UCLA, LMU and Pepperdine University, and is currently ELAC’s Scenic, Lighting and Projection professor. He has received multiple Ovation, LADCC, LA Weekly awards & nominations, and the Hilton Worldwide Award for outstanding Scenic Design at KCACTF 2014. Some of his professional design credits include: Everything that Never Happened, With Love and Major Organ (Theatre @ Boston Court); Destiny of Desire (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, South Coast Repertory and Goodman Theatre); Jackie Unveiled (The Wallis); The Mexican Trilogy, an American History (Los Angeles Theatre Center); Metamorphoses, Woyzeck, Hunsbands and Wives, and Everything is Illuminated (Ensemble Theatre Company); Médée and Teseo (Chicago Opera Theatre); A Picasso, Invisible Tango, and The Present (Geffen Playhouse).
Alex Jaeger For ETC: The Mystery of Irma Vep, I Am My Own Wife, Babydoll, The Legend of Georgia McBride, and Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical. Other theater credits: (Off- Broadway) Two Sisters and a Piano (The Public Theater). Regional credits: Many productions for Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Mister Burns (Guthrie Theater); Other Desert Cities, A Parallelogram (Mark Taper Forum); Major Barbara (Theatre Calgary); Venus in Fur, Arcadia, Maple and Vine, Once in a Lifetime, The Homecoming, November, Speed the Plow, (American Conservatory Theater); Rock N Roll (Huntington Theatre Company); The Nether, Eclipsed, The Paris Letter (Kirk Douglas Theatre); Extraordinary Chambers; Love, Loss and What I Wore; Third (Geffen Playhouse); The Habit of Art; Grey Gardens; Caroline, or Change; The History Boys; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; The Cripple of Inishmaan (The Studio Theatre); Amadeus, True West, All My Sons, others (South Coast Repertory); The Baby Dance, Darrow, The Man WhoShot Liberty Valance, The Turn of the Screw, The Diary of Anne Frank and The Devil’s Disciple (Rubicon Theatre).
Randall Robert Tico Carmen Jones is the twelfth sound design and/or score for ETC, the others being Sleuth, American Son, Lillian, Tenderly, Measure for Measure, Everything is Illuminated, The Invisible Hand, Macbeth, and Husbands and Wives, directed by Jonathan Fox, and The Legend of Georgia McBride and Baby Doll, directed by Jenny Sullivan. Also with Sullivan are Jackie Unveiled at the Wallis, The Baby Dance: Mixed, and the most recent production of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 at Rubicon Theatre Company. Other recent works include Anna Karenina for DCPA and Astoria Part One & Two for Portland Center Stage (PCS), directed by Chris Coleman. More with Coleman and PCS are Othello, Anna Karenina, Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline, The Imaginary Invalid, and Snow Falling on Cedars. With director Nancy Keystone and Critical Mass Performance Ensemble are After Iphigenia at the Getty Villa, Apollo at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (Garland Award and an Ovation Award nomination), Ameryka (2016 Ovation nomination), Suzan-Lori Parks’ The America Play (Theatre @ Boston Court), Antigone (Portland Center Stage for which he won a Drammy Award), The Ahkmatova Project, Dr. Faustus, The Rover, and Measure for Measure. Further works include Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, the vocal score for David Hare’s version of Mother Courage, and music and sound design for The Glass Menagerie, all directed by Jessica Kubzansky.
Kenneth Merckx has choreographed fights for film, television, theater and universities all across the country. He has taught stage combat for AMDA (LA), Cal State Fullerton & Long Beach, PCPA, Cal Arts and UC Santa Barbara. Ken is the resident fight choreographer for the Idaho and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals, A Noise Within (Los Angeles) and Great Lakes Theater (Cleveland). He is proud to have staged violence for the world premieres of Steven Dietz’s Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure (Pasadena Playhouse), Jeffery Hatcher’s Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (San Jose Repertory) and The Suicide Club (Arizona Theatre Company), Octavio Solis’ Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), Jane Martin’s Somebody/ Nobody directed by Jon Jory (Arizona Theatre Company) and the theatrical adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner (San Jose Repertory). Mr. Merckx received Ovation Awards in 2013 & 2018 for his fight work at A Noise Within. He earned his MFA, in acting, from the University of Illinois and his BA, in theatre studies, from the University of Washington.
John M. McElveney was an Equity Stage Manager and Lighting Designer for many years before joining ABC Television as a Unit/ Production Manager. While there he worked many sit-coms, specials and awards shows. He has served as Production Manager for The Emmys and was Senior Production Manager for many Academy Awards presentations. He and the group called MacAndME designed properties for over fifty productions at the Colony Theatre in Burbank and other venues in the Los Angeles area. At the Falcon/Garry Marshall Theatre he has designed over fourteen productions plus several at the Sierra Madre Playhouse and Main Street Theatre Co. in Rancho Cucamonga. Most recently at A Noise Within in Pasadena. Carmen Jones is John’s twelfth production at ETC. He is past President of the Pasadena Playhouse Alumni andAssociates.
Immediately following the performance, opening night attendees are treated to a festive post-show wine and hors d’oeuvre reception with the artists.
Join ETC Dramaturg, Anna Jensen for a free, lively, and informative half-hour talk in The New Vic courtyard before each Wednesday performance.
Mingle with friends and enjoy a complimentary martini with your ticket purchase. Held in The New Vic courtyard 45-minutes prior to curtain on the second Friday of the run.
Immediately following the final Thursday evening performance, meet members of the cast and participate in an informal 20-30 minute Q&A about the show.
The Zegar Family Foundation
Helene Segal and George Konstantinow