Production looks at opioid epidemic and was a catalyst for new best-selling book
Baltimore— By popular demand, the highly acclaimed stage play, Ursula V. Battle’s “Serenity House: From Addiction to Deliverance” returns for encore performances.
The three shows will take place Saturday, March 19, 2022 (12 p.m. & 5 p.m.) and Sunday, March 20, 2022 (4 p.m.) at The Redeemed Christian Church of God Mercy Court located at 529 Walker Avenue in Baltimore where the pastor is the Rev. John Itapke. The shows are being presented by The Redeemed Christian Church of God Mercy Court and Battle Stage Plays.
The shows will serve as send-off performances as playwright and journalist Ursula V. Battle prepares to take the powerful production “on the road” to Arlington, Va. The encore performances will also mark a special time in the history of The Redeemed Christian Church of God Mercy Court as the church celebrates its new location.
Directed by Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, the stage play takes a riveting and thought-provoking look at the opioid epidemic, which has worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic. The production will feature National Recording Artist Randy “Fruity” Roberts of The Choir Boyz, Malvilyn Statham of the legendary Clara Ward Singers, internationally renowned gospel female trio “SERENITY,” and songstress powerhouse Charisse-Caldwell-Bowen. The return engagement will also feature dynamic vocalist Travina Jefferson and performers Tanya Brown-Iyesi, Nathaniel Fields, Davalas Henry, Leonard Stepney, Jr. and Dawn Taylor.
The piece is written by Playwright Battle, who is a writer for The Baltimore Times, and is directed by Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Health Officer for Baltimore County. Dr. Branch’s interest in Medicine dates back to his childhood, seeing a former neighbor struggle with addiction, who ultimately succumbs to an overdose. The production speaks to addiction across multiple platforms, including eating disorders and prescription drug abuse.
“Serenity House: From Addiction to Deliverance” also touches on domestic violence, incest, and child sex trafficking.
Roberts, a real-life former drug dealer who turned his life around, 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, Caldwell-Bowen and Jefferson will perform several gospel favorites throughout the production. Howard “Buddy” Lakins, Jr. is the Musical Director for the powerful show, which will also include original music composed by the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University student Allen Branch.
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.
The production is also the impetus for Playwright Battle’s new novel, Serenity House: From Addiction to Deliverance, which is also drawing rave reviews, and features her original poem, “I Rose Above It All.” The book’s foreword is written by Dr. Branch.
The performances are dedicated to the late poet Maya Angelou and “Cynthia,” a woman who overdosed in front of the building where auditions for the production were held, but was revived by the NARCAN nasal spray.
Ursula V. Battle’s “Serenity House” is rated PG-13 due to some strong content and profanity. Show times are as follows: Saturday, March 19, 2022 (12 p.m. & 5 p.m.) and Sunday, March 20, 2022 (4 p.m.) Tickets are limited. Early Bird General Seating tickets are available for $25 until Saturday, March 5, 2022. After March 5, 2022 tickets are $30 and more at the door.
A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $50 ($60 at the door) and includes: preferred seating and a copy of Playwright Battle’s new book, Serenity House: From Addiction to Deliverance. Battle Stage Plays is also looking for sponsors to cover the cost of tickets for individuals in recovery.
For additional information, or to purchase tickets call (443) 531-4787. You can also visit www.battlestageplays.com. You can also call 410-900-9111 or visit www.mercycourt.org