A powerful story of a convict returning from a brief prison stay to resume his position as the neighborhood kingpin. In the New York Times, Stephen Holden wrote “Jelly Belly offers an unremittingly bleak portrait of inner-city life and the enormous pressure on working-class black men to be gangsters.” The Chicago Defender wrote “Employing gritty poetry of the streets, Smith introduces us to Jelly Belly, who attempts to regain the service of Kenny, a former drug runner who has gone straight. Kenny is torn between the hope of prosperity through hard work shared with his friend Mike, or the opportunistic life of a drug pusher Jelly Belly offers.”
Directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz.  

February 9th | February 25th. MAINSTAGETheatre.


LaShawn Little (Mike)  has had the passion and gift to act since the age of twelve. He is a graduate of the acclaimed Cleveland School of Performing Arts where he studied theater and creative writing. He was the second recipient of the Alex Haley/Florence Kelley Scholarship at the Cleveland Playhouse.   LaShawn continued his education at Wilberforce University where he studied theater and mass media communications. LaShawn has been in several main stage productions including Karamu Theater productions Ceremonies Of Dark Men, and The Return of Superman.   He has also worked on the Dobama Theater productions,  Civil War Christmas and Superior Donuts.  He also performed in The Bloodless Jungle and  Ensemble Theater , and in The Lake Effect at Karamu Theater as part of a co-production with Ensemble Theatre. LaShawn is also  a writer and co-producer/owner of I Was Rollin Productions LLC.  


Mary Francis Miller (Barbara) is an actor, vocalist and musician from South Euclid, Ohio. She received her training from the Cleveland State University Department of Theatre and Dance. Mary-Francis was also a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus. She has worked with Playwrights Local, Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, Ohio City Theatre Project and several other companies/organizations. Mary-Francis' performance credits include The Colored Museum (Janine/Medea/Lala), The Bloodless Jungle (Sydney), the revival of Incendiaries, the revival of Objectively/Reasonable: A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice, the regional premiere of Margin of Error (Daphne), the Ohio premiere of In Red and Brown Water (Oya), The Crucible Opera (Tituba), Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and The Tempest (Ariel). Mary-Francis is currently working on an upcoming web-series called Upstairs and a short film entitled The Baby Mama Syndrome. Mary-Francis would like to thank her friends and family for their unyielding support and gives honor and glory to God. She is so very pleased to return to Ensemble Theatre and looks forward to giving a stellar performance.


Robert Hunter (Bruce) was born  in Cleveland , Ohio. To further pursue his acting career he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18. While attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Hunter booked roles in commercials, student film projects and plays. In 2012, he became the male recipient of the American Black Film Festival's Star Project award. He is best known for his role in HELL.A. (2014) Love Thyself (2014) and Date Night (2014) in which he also wrote and produced. Locally on stage he played/is playing as Belize in both part of Angels in America for Ensemble Theatre where he also played Malcolm in Voodoo Macbeth. Recent roles at Dobama's were in Superior Donuts, Bellville, and Marie Antoinette. He recently completed film roles in Criminal Activities directed by Jackie Earle Haley and The Land directed by Steven Caple Jr.  He is excited to work on this role and with such an amazing cast!  


Jabri Little (Kenny) is a senior at Cleveland School of  the Arts (CSA). Jabri has had a strong passion for performing since he was 13 years old. As an actor, he has made appearances in several productions at CSA including TWILIGHT by Anna Devere Smith, where he played multiple characters. Jabri also played Ebenezer Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens and Timel in WRITING MY WRONGS by Kelly Price in the Play Festival at CSA. Jabri also played Jim in PLAIN FEAR and Kevin in THE FALLOUT in the 2017 Marilyn Bianchi Kids' Playwriting Festival at Dobama Theatre. Jabri recently played character TRAY in BROWNSVILLE: A B-SIDE FOR TRAY at Dobama Theatre. Jabri plans to continue acting throughout college and for the rest of his life.


Greg White (Jelly Belly) is no stranger to the Ensemble stage, and is honored to be working with this superb cast in this production. He was last seen at CPT in Lisa Langford's The Art of Longing. An alumni of Ohio University, his other Ensemble performances include, Banquo in Voodoo Macbeth, Chris Christopherson in Anna Christie, Mier Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby, Thurgood Marshall in Thurgood and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.


Ian Wolfgang Hinz (Director)
Robert Hunter (Assistant Director)
Becca Mosely (Production Stage Manager)
Walter Boswell (Scenic Design)
Kayla Davis (Costume Design)
August Scarpelli (Technical Director)