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Chocolate Bayou Theater Company | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Chocolate Bayou Theater Company

Historical Note:

The Chocolate Bayou Theater Company’s origins date back to 1973 when Leonard Wagner established a semi-professional community theater in conjunction with Alvin Community College.  When the college suspended its theater program, Wagner decided to transform the group into a non-profit professional theater in collaboration with Pat Miller.  Their mission was to produce high quality, intimate professional theater while developing playwrights and a company of actors. Together they moved the Chocolate Bayou Theater Company to a new location a few miles north to Houston.

Chocolate Bayou established a reputation mounting new plays and supporting new playwrights through their Preston Jones New Play Symposium.  The symposium was named for the playwright Preston Jones who donated his new play to CBTC for their first production.  Jones, a close friend of Miller and Wagner, died two weeks before the play was produced.

Financial difficulties forced the company to close in 1987.  Chocolate Bayou was enjoying critical and popular success but faced outstanding debts and the economic downturn in Houston.  In its final year CBTC produced seven premieres of new plays.  Attempts were made to revive CBTC but were unsuccessful. The company mounted more than 100 productions and received two Rockefeller Foundation grants.


Dauphin, Sue. Houston by Stages: A History of Theatre in Houston.

Sources: Dauphin, Sue. Houston by Stages: A History of Theatre in Houston.

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