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For Immediate Release
April 4, 2011
[SARASOTA] - Race, Romance and Reverie will be the theme permeating the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe's 2011 - 2012 season of plays. For its 12th year, the troupe will present two world premiere musicals, a one-man original revue, and an award-winning drama.
One of the original shows will be written by Nate Jacobs, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Founder and Artistic Director. Love, Sung in the Key of Aretha is the story of four women who live together in a Florida apartment building. They musically review their life experiences as told through the songs made famous by the legendary Aretha Franklin. This will be a celebration of Aretha's masterful artistry, bigger-than-life talent and understanding of human relationships.
The second world premiere, Blackbird: The Josephine Baker Story, is by veteran playwright, screenwriter and lyricist, Sherman Yellen, who wrote the Broadway musicals Rex and The Rothschilds and was the winner of two Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. Music is by Wally Harper. The play traces the life of Josephine Baker from Jim Crow America to Paris, where she became a stage sensation. It is presented in "pure musical comedy style" ... it's funny, sexy, exuberant! Baker is the ultimate rags-to-riches story despite the difficult times in which she lived.
WBTT is proud to present the multi-talented De'zhon Fields as one of the greatest superstars, Sammy Davis Jr. in his original revue, "SAMMY" Tonight! A Tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. This musical revue features all of the hits he made famous including: "I've Gotta Be Me," "Mr. Bojangles" and "Candy Man." For the past ten years, Mr. Fields has traveled worldwide showcasing his homage to the legendary icon known as "Mr. Entertainment." From Vegas to Dublin, Fields has audiences clamoring for more.
The widely acclaimed A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, will be the only drama of the season. In this powerful production, conflict arises when an insurance check provides the means to fulfill conflicting dreams for a mother and her two children. Hope, racism, feminism and pride are some of the themes in the play about a poor black family's struggle to gain middle-class acceptance in 1950s Chicago. This was first play written by a black woman that was produced on Broadway. Nominated for four Tony Awards, the New York Times wrote "this play changed American theater forever." Raisin was named the best play of 1959 by the NY Drama Critics' Circle and was a highly successful film.
"I am truly excited about the plays selected for this season. We will be telling the story of not only the challenges but the triumphs of African Americans beginning in the 1920s with Josephine Baker and carrying through today with Aretha Franklin," states Nate Jacobs. "The history of African Americans often tells stories of heartbreak, racism and cruelty, but shining through is the strength and spirit of these people to succeed and, in doing so, forever inspire us."
Season subscription holders pay $75 for all four productions and are able to get their choice of dates before they are available to the general public. Single tickets go on sale in October and will be $28 each. Subscriptions can be purchased by calling 941.366.1505 or online at www.wbttroupe.org.
The WBTT Theatre is located at 1646 10th Way in Sarasota.