July 7, 2014
Contact Lisa Rubinstein, LDR Creative, Inc., [email protected] or 941-373-3803
WBTT OPENS MARVIN GAYE: PRINCE OF SOUL
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) will open its second summer production, Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul, on Wednesday July 16th, running through Sunday, August 10th. The musical play is a revised version of Marvin Gaye: The Man and His Music, which played to sold-out audiences in WBTT’s 2011 main season. The play features many of the same cast members including the lead role of Marvin Gaye being performed by Sheldon Roden. Founding Artistic Director Nate Jacobs is the creator and director of the piece. The show will be performed Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 pm with Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm. Price is $29.50 for adults and $16.50 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at www.wbttsrq.org or by calling the box office at
“We are very excited to bring back Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul for many reasons,” remarked Jacobs. “Initially I was inspired to write the piece because of Sheldon, his talent and his style. It was a big success in 2011 but new plays take years to develop and I felt this play needed more work and time in development. Second reason was the community wanted it and many people have asked me to bring it back. Timing to re-stage the production depended on securing the rights from the Marvin Gaye family, which took three years. Last but certainly not least, we are pleased to showcase Sheldon, a Troupe member whose talent has benefited from his WBTT training. He is a very popular performer and he was available this summer. The planets aligned and we are so pleased that they did.”
This play covers the singing career of Marvin Gaye from the 1950s through the mid-1980s at the time of his untimely and shocking death. It takes place in Detroit, the birthplace of Motown music. Audience members will enjoy the depth of Gaye’s musical talent, as well as the intensity of his personal story. In addition to Sheldon Roden, cast members include many familiar Troupe members including Emmanuel “E-Man” Avraham, Ariel Blue, Nate Jacobs, and Michael Mendez. Three new women will make their WBTT debut in this production. They are Sasha Lumsden, Emerald Rose and Janesia Shanae. Jay Dodge II is the music director/production manager. Costume designer is Cristy Owen. Lighting Designer is Nick Jones and Video/Image Designer is Yulner Diaz.
“Tickets are selling at a brisk pace,” Jacobs continued. “Each time a new play is staged is a very exciting time but this particular play has really been a labor of love. Sheldon’s portrayal of Marvin Gaye is very genuine and rings true to life. The cast and I are looking forward to opening night and a successful run of the show.”
The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. (WBTT) is the only professional black theater company on Florida’s West Coast. The mission is to “produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth.” Throughout its history, WBTT has produced many productions and has gained a reputation for high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining performances.
Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many African-American youth. Many of the aspiring professional artists trained in the WBTT performing arts program have gone on to work with national and regional companies. Apphia Campbell was most recently seen performing her one-woman show, Black is the Color of My Voice, at WBTT in Sarasota, as well as in Shanghai and New York, and Teresa Stanley, who was a featured cast member on Broadway in The Color Purple, presently stars in Rock of Ages. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at www.wbttsrq.org, follow on Facebook or call 941-366-1505.