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Powerful stage play production ‘Serenity House’ looks at opioid epidemic

National Recording Artist Randy Roberts and Gospel Trio Serenity to Perform | 12/1/2017, 6 a.m.
Unified Voices (UV) of Johns Hopkins will present the highly anticipated stage play, Ursula V. Battle’s “Serenity House” December 15, ...
Director of the stage play production, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch and the production’s writer, Playwright Ursula V. Battle. Courtesy Photo/Battle Stage Plays

— Unified Voices (UV) of Johns Hopkins will present the highly anticipated stage play, Ursula V. Battle’s “Serenity House” December 15, 16 and 17, 2017 in Johns Hopkins’ Turner Auditorium located at 720 Rutland Avenue in Baltimore.

The stage play takes a riveting and thought-provoking look at the opioid epidemic. The production will feature National Recording Artist Randy Roberts and internationally renowned gospel female trio “Serenity.”

Roberts portrays “James Franklin” in the production, and will perform Watch Me Work from his hit CD This Is My Story This is My Song featuring “Kingdom.” Serenity will perform several gospel favorites throughout the production.

Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch is the Stage Director, while Howard “Buddy” Lakins, Jr. is the Musical Director for the powerful production, which will also include original music composed by Peabody Conservatory student Allen Branch.

“We are excited to present Ursula V. Battle’s Serenity House,” said Dr. Branch, who serves as Executive Director of UV. “Serenity House supports UV’s mission which is to spread hope, health, and healing through harmony. It debuts just in time for the holidays and is a must-see. People can expect to laugh, cry, and most of all, be uplifted.”

In addition to Serenity and Roberts, the dynamic cast also includes leading actors/actresses Tanya Brown-Iyesi (Sharon Brown), Charisse Caldwell Bowen (Sister Jackson), Brandi Dyer (Miracle Smith), Davalas Henry (Dancer Hawkins), Regina Gail Malloy (Claire C. Voyant), Rahman Murray (Hank Riley), and Leonard Stepney, Jr. (Willie Jones, Jr.). The play also features Liam Lindsay, who is legally blind. Lindsay will portray Pastor Right Just, Jr.

The production’s storyline centers around the journey six men and women - who are three months in recovery, take after arriving at the imaginary United in Victory Tabernacle on the Hill Freewill Catholic Baptist and Episcopal Church of God in Christ’s newly opened “Serenity House.” Through ministry, music, an unforgettable story and dance, the production takes a heart-wrenching, yet heart-warming look at the devastating impact that addiction has on society— particularly on families that in some cases, spans generations. The production also highlights the supernatural power of God to help us overcome, and the transformative power of forgiveness.

During its run, there will be post-show panel discussions regarding the work featuring behavioral health experts, the performers, directors and writer.

Battle and Branch’s previous productions include Ursula V. Battle’s My Big Phat Ghetto FABULE$$ Wedding, DisChord in The Choir, and The Teachers’ Lounge. Battle is a journalist and writes for The Baltimore Times, while Dr. Branch serves as the Director of Health and Human Services for Baltimore County and is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Unified Voices (UV) of Johns Hopkins.

Ursula V. Battle’s “Serenity House” is rated PG-13 due to some strong content and profanity. Show times are as follows: Friday, December 15, 2017 (7 p.m.), Saturday, December 16, 2017 (2 p.m. and 7 p.m.) and Sunday, December 17, 2017 (5 p.m.). Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Seating is General, with doors opening 30 minutes before the performance.

For group rates, more information or to purchase tickets, call: 410-955-8888 or 443-531-4787 or visit: www.unifiedvoices.com or www.battlestageplays.com.