Exciting Changes for Sarasota’s Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

Exciting Changes for Sarasota’s Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

Located in the heart of Sarasota is a theatre that, in season, sells out at a 94% rate.  Most nights, it is a line-at-the-door procession of people coming to see what will be a captivating lineup of stellar shows under one roof.  It could easily be assumed that possibly Hollywood 20, with its economical pricing of $6 a seat every day, might be the busiest venue in town, or, perhaps the upscale CineBistro, where comfort and pricey eats and drinks add to the experience of an already exciting blockbuster movie.

  The theatre in question this time is Sarasota’s Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, a thriving staple in the Downtown live theatre market and here to stay, with a new campus on the horizon, a 20-year anniversary to be celebrated soon, and a fall performance schedule you won’t want to miss.

Westcoast Black Theatre TroupeThe Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe hit the stage in 1999, taking up residence on the corner of 10th Street and Orange Avenue in Downtown Sarasota.  Brainchild of actor, director, playwright and singer, Nate Jacobs, the troupe brings a vibrant yearly season, consisting of just five shows this time around to an audience left craving more.  Producing musicals, including popular Broadway productions, unique one-of-a-kind dramas and comedies has proven to be a successful methodology for this organization.  Yearly auditions for national talent provide a unique experience for audiences who are often treated to actors and singers that outreach Sarasota’s own deep pool of finely-trained artists.  Many who train with WBTT go on to perform on larger stages worldwide including appearances on television shows, leading regional theatres, Broadway, and entertaining thousands of people on cruise ships.  In the meantime, they are gearing up for the 2017-18 season and a $6 million overhaul, so the sky is the limit for this Sarasota gem.

A recent groundbreaking ceremony brought city officials, musicians, entertainers, and devotees of WBTT together to celebrate the renovation of the Bintz Building at the front of their campus.  The theme was “Raise the Roof” and they plan to do just that and a whole lot more to make this fall season a spectacular one from the moment you park your car and step outside onto their newly redesigned grounds.  Plans for the Bintz Building include new administrative areas, education and outreach offices, a new weekday box office, a library, several multipurpose rooms and a 6,000-square-foot garden. Other renovations around campus will include future enhancements to the theatre, a new courtyard with outdoor seating, additional parking and upgraded lighting.   

The effects of WBTT’s educational endeavors are widely felt among the community and include several innovative programs, including the Young Artist Program, which is a venue for the best-of-the-best in young performers to showcase their talents as directors, producers, light and sound engineers, marketers and publicists.  Jazzlinks is another non-traditional educational method of transcending the classroom and introducing students to live performances by actors who provide a vivid picture of the role that African Americans have played in the history of the United States.  

Live Entertainment Sarasota, FloridaThe 2017-18 season of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is as revamped and reimagined as the new digs its actors and audience goers will experience.  Just finishing up a fabulous Broadway in Black summer season, they are looking ahead to show-stopping performances in productions like In the Heights, which depicts an authentic Latino neighborhood celebrating a vibrant culture full of the details which make a community buzz on a frequency familiar and comfortable to all those who live there, and envied by those who reside outside.  Yearly favorites like this holiday season’s A Motown Christmas will have you rocking around the Christmas tree and WBTT’s mainstage as they celebrate the season with Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and Stevie Wonder.  Soul Man, another entry to this year’s season, will spotlight the male performers among the troupe who will remind us of the struggles, pain, and heartache African Americans endured all in the name of equal rights, which is gut-wrenchingly displayed in emotion-inducing musical pieces.

For your fall “to-do’s” and “must-sees,” put Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe on that list.  Providing audiences with thought-providing performances and foot-stomping beats that strike a timeless chord to the good memories of all involved is part of their mission.  They also add value to the young African American performer’s experience with esteem-building classes and a devotion to instill pride and understanding for the art of their performance.  Their shows strive to be a basis of inclusivity among the community and they hope you will consider them for a memorable evening.  For more information on the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, please visit www.westcoastblacktheatre.orgwestcoastblacktheatre.org

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photos courtesy of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Facebook page.

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2017-07-26