Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe announces 2024-2025 season

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Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe announces 2024-2025 season WBTT’s 25th anniversary season to feature ‘Soul Crooners Solid Gold Edition,’ ‘Fences,’ ‘Five Guys Named Moe,’ and ‘Syncopated Avenue,’ plus holiday show, ‘A Motown Christmas’SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s 25th season will be a celebration of “25 Years of Black Heritage.” During its 2024-2025 theatre season, WBTT will offer fan favorites as well as a brand-new world premiere show.Running from October 9, 2024 through May 25, 2025, the regular season shows are “Soul Crooners Solid Gold Edition,” “Fences,” “Five Guys Named Moe” and “Syncopated Avenue.” The holiday show – which is not part of the season subscription – is “A Motown Christmas.”“For our 25th anniversary season, we have adopted the theme ’25 Years of Black Heritage,’” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. “As the only African American theatre on Florida’s west coast, we are proud to offer a unique and special cultural experience to our community. With the shows selected for the coming season, we hope to provide an exciting, entertaining and thought-provoking theatre experience.”Opening the season is “Soul Crooners Solid Gold Edition.” (Created, adapted and directed by Nate Jacobs.) The “Soul Crooners” productions have been pivotal in the success of WBTT: “Soul Crooners” premiered on a rental stage at the Sarasota Arts Center in 2009, has sold out multi-performance runs at the National Black Theatre Festival twice, and got a sold-out crowd of thousands on their feet during the “Soul Party” at Ed Smith Stadium in 2019. “Soul Crooners Solid Gold Edition” – a celebration of the music that ushered in a new era of soul during the 1970s – has not been featured on the mainstage since its debut in 2009. The production is a guaranteed dance-in-your-seats, sing-along, sensational good time. Runs October 9-November 17, 2024.During the holiday season, WBTT presents its Christmas card to the community, the exuberant musical revue, “A Motown Christmas.” (Created, adapted and directed by Nate Jacobs.) Presented previously in 2015, 2017 and 2019, the show features some favorite traditional carols as well as many original Christmas songs written and recorded by Motown’s most celebrated artists, such as The Jackson 5, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. WBTT’s sizzling signature style makes this a most memorable Christmas treat that’s fun for the whole family! “A Motown Christmas” is not part of the season subscription. Runs November 27, 2024-January 5, 2024.The season’s dramatic offering is “Fences,” written by renowned American playwright August Wilson. (WBTT Resident Director Chuck Smith will return to Sarasota to direct.) Wilson had a massive impact on Broadway with this play, which tells the story of a responsible yet otherwise flawed Black garbage collector in pre-Civil Rights America. Deemed a “generational play,” it mirrors the classic struggle of status quo, tradition and age versus change, innovation and youth. “Fences” is one of the most significant African American plays of the 20th century. Runs from January 15-February 23, 2025.Next up is “Five Guys Named Moe,” with book by Clarke Peters and lyrics and music by Louis Jordan and others. (Directed by Jim Weaver.) An exuberant tribute to the music of rhythm and blues pioneer Louis Jordan, “Five Guys Named Moe” features incredible dance numbers and a wonderful musical score. The hero, Nomax, is broke and his lovely Lorraine has left him. As he listens to the radio at 5 a.m., five guys named Moe appear and encourage Nomax to turn his life around and tell Lorraine that he loves her. Runs from March 5-April 6, 2025.Closing the season is a brand-new world premiere musical, “Syncopated Avenue.” WBTT produces its first-ever tap revue – starring electrifying tap dancer Lamont Brown – in this musical journey through the captivating and entertaining world of tap dance. The show takes us to an avenue where all things flourish with rhythm, style and class. This innovative musical offers new songs and features an exciting repertoire of unique arrangements of popular jazz tunes by iconic composers such as Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Mean A Thing,” Eubie Blake’s “I’m Just Full Of Jazz,” and Irving Berlin’s “Cheek To Cheek!” as well as new songs arranged and created by Nate Jacobs, Lamont Brown and Louis Danows. Runs from April 16-May 25, 2025.“This season has diverse offerings that should appeal to a wide variety of tastes: from musical revues to gripping drama, from R&B and soul hits to jazz classics – we feel there’s something for everyone to enjoy,” said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. “We are also excited for and invite the entire community to our 25th Anniversary Gala, which will take place in November. This will truly be a thrilling year for WBTT and we hope area arts patrons will feel the same!”
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. matinees Saturdays-Sundays; all performances take place in WBTT’s Donelly Theatre (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota).Subscriptions will go on sale in the spring and individual tickets will become available during the summer. Subscription and individual ticket prices and on-sale dates are TBD. Visit westcoastblacktheatre.org for more about WBTT.About Westcoast Black Theatre TroupeThe mission of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates African American history and experience, engages a broad base of patrons and audiences, supports the development of a dynamic group of aspiring artists, and builds self-esteem in youth of color. Visit westcoastblacktheatre.org for more information.
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