Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s Young Artist Program opens new season
Young WBTT artist Maicy Powell to present two performances of ‘The Kid is Alright’ on February 4
SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to present the sixth year of its annual Young Artist Program, through which Troupe members are able to showcase their talents with self-produced, one-person shows. The first Young Artist performances of the season, “The Kid is Alright: An Evening with Maicy Powell,” take place Monday, February 4 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (The evening performance is already sold out.)
The original, one-woman show will take the audience through the story of Powell’s artistic development, highlighting the people who have influenced her as an all-around performer and how she began her journey at WBTT. Songs the audience members will enjoy include “The Greatest Love of All” (Whitney Houston), “Say a Little Prayer” (Aretha Franklin), and “I’ve Got Love” (Melba Moore), among many others.
Also being featured this year are popular WBTT artists Earley Dean, on March 17, and Brian L. Boyd, on April 7. Young Artist Program showcases take place at the WBTT theater, located at 1012 N. Orange Avenue in Sarasota. Tickets are $25 general admission; sponsor tickets, which include reserved preferred seating, are $100. Call the box office at (941) 366-1505 or purchase tickets online at westcoastblacktheatre.org.
Powell has been a student in WBTT’s Stage of Discovery summer program since 2016. In the 2018 program, she wowed audiences with her singing and dancing in Broadway in Black Jr. In December she performed in the ensemble of WBTT’s production of Black Nativity at the Sarasota Opera House.
She is a senior in the Visual and Performing Arts Theatre Program at Booker High School. Powell plans to attend a four-year university and double major in Business Management and Musical Theatre. Proceeds from Powell’s performance will be used to fund her college education.
WBTT’s Young Artist Program, part of its educational programming, was created to support, develop and showcase the talent of young, aspiring artists of color. The Young Artist Program offers company members the opportunity to develop and present an original production. All proceeds from the show are given to the presenting artist to be used for further artistic and professional development.
“My primary goal when I founded Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe was to find a platform where I could train and mentor young artists,” said WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs, who assists the young artists in developing and directing their presentations. “This program highlights our commitment to investing in the up-and-coming artists who work with us in order to further their performance and career opportunities.”
Since its inception, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has mentored and inspired many African-American youth through their participation in the company’s productions. Many of the aspiring professional artists trained in the organization’s performing arts program have gone on to work with regional and national companies. One of WBTT’s youngest performers, fan favorite Christopher Eisenberg, was signed by Sony/ATV in 2016 as part of pop group Next Town Down. WBTT founding member Teresa Stanley has two Broadway hit shows under her belt. And Naarai Jacobs – frequent WBTT performer and the daughter of Nate – performed last year with world-famous artists including Beyoncé and Logic.
“The Young Artist Program gives artists who may have only experienced ensemble work with WBTT or other theaters the opportunity to move into the spotlight,” said WBTT executive director Julie Leach. “The artists are responsible for writing their own script, the song choices, costumes, choreography, promotions … every facet of presenting a production. It is a rigorous effort but one that helps to equip our artists with the tools they need to take their careers to the next level.”
For more information or tickets to WBTT’s season of shows, go to westcoastblacktheatre.org.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe:
The mission of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates the African-American experience, to attract diverse audiences, to support and develop African-American artists, and to build the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.