Most of the nicest breezes of summer are coming courtesy of our beloved air conditioners and ceiling fans, but Leslie Lee’s play, The First Breeze of Summer, winner of a 1975 Obie award, will likely prove bracing. The semi-autobiographical drama, scripted while Lee attended graduate school, concerns three generations of an African-American family in the contemporary South and stars the luminous Leslie Uggams as the family’s matriarch. Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson will help map the genealogy. The drama inaugurates the Signature Theatre’s season devoted to the Negro Ensemble Company, a theater founded by playwright Douglas Turner Ward in 1967 designed “to present live theater performances by and about Black people to a culturally diverse audience.” The Signature’s upcoming presentations will include Home by Samm-Art Williams and Zooman and the Sign by Charles Fuller.

Wed., Aug. 6, 8 p.m., 2008