As we prepare to finally make the leap from the screen back to the Wortham stage, it's time to release our final digital film from our time away from live performances - a real world envisioning of Moby's Run On from Stanton Welch's beloved Play. Originally inspired by everyday city life in New York, Play's working-man vibe goes full circle and comes to life in the urban atmosphere of Downtown Houston. Filmed at Allen's Landing, Lyric Garage, Market Square Tower and Wortham Theater Center, Play's cheeky take on the monotonous tasks of daily office life spills out onto the streets surrounding our home at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance. The movement takes on a different feeling after over a year and a half away from normal routines.
Play has a meaningful place in Houston Ballet's repertoire, from it's original premiere in 2006 to it's most recent run at the George R. Brown Convention Center during the Hometown Tour following Hurricane Harvey. As the second time that Play has been adapted during challenging times for the Company, the film version of this work continues to show its versality and build on its mythos in the Company's history.
Like many passionate arts patrons, Jesse “Jay” H. Jones II became interested in the arts at an early age through school field trips to live performances. He carries on a distinguished family legacy of civic leadership in Houston and his first exposure to the ballet was when his mother served on the Houston Ballet Board of Trustees.
A Trustee himself since 1983, Jay has provided great leadership to the Ballet and currently serves on the Board’s Executive Committee. Not only has Jay been a former board chair, he headed the search committee that selected and hired Artistic Director Stanton Welch AM and was Co-Chair of Houston Ballet’s Capital Campaign Committee with fellow Co-Chair Anita B. Stude. He also chaired the Opening Night Onstage Dinner to kick-off Houston Ballet’s 50th anniversary season.
Through his visionary leadership, Jay helped Houston Ballet successfully raise $50 million to complete the state-of-the-art Center for Dance facility that Houston Ballet now calls home. "This building is a testament to the Houston community’s love for the arts,” he says, “and it secures Houston Ballet’s future as an internationally recognized company and school.”
Jay also co-chaired two successful pandemic relief campaigns to Keep Our Company Dancing and Share the Joy – ensuring that dancers, orchestra and staff remained together as a company despite the suspension of in-person performances. Due to his incredible leadership and commitment, Houston Ballet will return to live, in-person performances stronger than ever.
Jay has travelled in support of Houston Ballet and its dancers performing on the most important stages around the world. “The opportunity to tour and perform on a world stage is essential to propelling Houston Ballet’s success and attracting the best dancers, choreographers and artists in the world,” he says.
Over the years, Jay has played an intricate part in the growth and achievements of Houston Ballet. His indelible leadership has meant a great deal to Artistic Director Stanton Welch AM, and Stanton is pleased to dedicate Play in Jay’s honor.