The debut of Sgt. Rhonda Williams’ first play, When Love Finds You, drew sell-out crowds for both performances on March 13 and 14 at the Ensemble Theater on South Main.
Not only that but this rookie playwright earned herself rave reviews, not only from Empower magazine but also a number of those in attendance, prompting Williams to readily widen the usually large smile on her face.
“I was just amazed and blessed,” Williams told the Badge & Gun. “It was a great blessing to know what the Lord had done with everything going on in the city still.”
She referred, of course, to the dramatic preventive steps to fight the coronavirus, the pandemic that has struck every country in the world. The increased awareness didn’t take hold in Houston and Texas – thankfully – until after the play’s two performances on a Friday night and a Saturday matinee.
Sold out Both Performances
“The turnout was exceptional,” the playwright with a badge said. “That was really amazing, overwhelming to see so many people that attended with what was going on. It was before the scare.
“It was just the Lord’s time. Everything was just perfect. It was amazing, just perfect.”
Empower Magazine called When Love Finds You “a must-see stage play that takes the audience on an emotion-filled journey of the ups and downs of relationships and the unintended consequences of poor decisions that almost cause a group of women to miss the kind of love that is truly worth finding.”
Serious discussion about follow-up performances were hampered by the stay-home policy implemented for Houston and Harris County by Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
Williams vowed that productions of the play are far from being over. Like all Houstonians, she took a cleansing breath that goes along with a careful wait-and-see approach.
Retired Executive Assistant Chief Michael Dirden attended the Friday night performance.
“I enjoyed the experience,” he said. “What I thought about most was the dedication of Rhonda in writing and developing the play and seeing her work come to fruition.
“For a short play, the character of the players was well developed, and the acting was consistent with the character development. I would see it again and encourage others to see it too.”
HPD Senior Police Officer Sharome Robinson expressed similar reactions.
“The message of the play truly touched my heart and reminded me that we are all on different journeys but ultimately we all want to be loved. The love of our Heavenly Father is the greatest love and when we accept Him, love finds us.
“The thespians brought every character to life and left me sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was next. Congratulations to R. Renee Production for an inspiration play!
“I am so proud of Sgt. Rhonda Renee Williams. I look forward to her future endeavors.”
HPOU Board Member Debbie LaHaie attended, saying she found the play to be “entertaining, thought-provoking, at times funny – relatable to all, young and old.”
Sgt. David Hollins attended Friday night with his wife. He called the play “an outstanding faith-based play written by one of Houston’s finest, Sgt. Rhonda Williams. “The play was a Godsent literally and figuratively, presented a week before these current, trying times. It was icing on the cake to get away from the current media hype and enjoy an outstanding stage production.
“Without giving away all of the details, this well written play combined real world situations—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of life. The story line was laid out utilizing an awesome script and outstanding actors, combined with a top-notch production crew and was MC’d by another one of the Houston Police Department’s multi-talented professionals and up and coming comedian, Dr. Stephen L. Tate.
“We encourage everyone to see this play and support this marvelous up-and-coming playwright. It will pull at your heartstrings one minute and have you laughing the next. If this is a sample of things to come, we can’t wait for the next RRenee Production by Rhonda Williams.
We should point out at this point that Sgt. Williams is – in her words – “working on a second one, not a sequel.”
Retired Assistant Chief Mattie Provost said Williams’ work “was a biblically inspiring play with an awesome message about relationships. Relationships with family, friends, but most importantly, a relationship with God and learning to depend on Him for guidance in all of your decisions.
“The cast was phenomenal and hammered the message home in a solemn but humorous manner. I truly enjoyed the performance and applaud Rhonda Renee Williams, founder of R Renee Productions, for an exceptional product.
“May God continue to bless her with her gift of discernment as she continues to share her gift with others.”
Sgt. Michael Taylor took in the play and said, “The play had a nice story line that tells you sometimes you don’t have to be looking that love can find you when you least expect it, but keep your eye on God and He will do the rest.
“The character June was my favorite funny with great energy. I will attend another one of your plays. Keep striving.”
Greg Haire, a longtime friend of Williams, said, “The play was very entertaining with a great cast and well-constructed script. The producer, Ms. Williams, organized a sound production with little experience but illustrated a production no less equal to that of a seasoned veteran producer.
“The performance depicted true life experiences with a solid spiritual flavor. This cast and producer has only one direction: proceed…. up!
“The play was truly magnificent!”