Nate Jacobs, Founder/Artistic Director

Nate Jacobs is a driving force in Florida’s theater scene. An actor, singer, comedian, playwright, composer, and director, he founded WBTT in December 1999. This graduate of Florida A&M University works extensively in the community training and mentoring youth in the performing arts. Nate has directed, acted, and written many shows. His co-adaptation of Celebrating Greatness was featured on CBS's Street Stories with Ed Bradley. His original one-man comedy show, Aunt Rudele’s Family Reunion, was selected for the Zora Neale Hurston Festival in Eatonville, Fla, and the National Black Theatre Festival, and was performed in New York at PS-NBC’s “new comedic talent” event. Nate has received numerous honors. As a result of his outstanding contributions to young people, the Sarasota County Branch NAACP Youth Council recognized Nate as one of the 2012 “Men of Valor.” In the spring of 2013, Nate was inducted into Sarasota’s Community Video Archives “Hall of Fame.” Nate and the other five founding members of WBTT were honored by Second Chance, Last Opportunity at its “Share the Light” luncheon in September 2014. Biz(941) and La Guia magazines named Nate the 2015 Unity Award Arts winner for being a champion of diversity. Most recently, Nate was honored at the 2015 National Black Theatre Festival with the prestigious “Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award” for his contributions to Black and American theatre.

Julie Leach, Executive Director

Julie Leach transitioned to WBTT’s Executive Director after serving as chairman of the board of trustees for five years. She came to this position with extensive finance and management experience, having run a church religious education program, working as an audit manager for Deloitte in Dallas, Texas, and operating her own CPA and investment advising business. Julie earned her MBA in Finance and Statistics from the University of Chicago and is a retired Certified Public Accountant.

 

Since moving to Florida, Julie has focused her attention on volunteer leadership. She is a past president and Treasurer at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, where she has been a member and deeply involved in its social justice work since 2000. She is also a past president of the board of trustees and current president of the endowment board of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School. 

Recently, Julie received the Women of Light Award from the Women’s International Conference of Westcoast Center for Human Development.

WBTT Board of Trustees

OFFICERS

Marian Moss, Chair, manages her family business, which has been in existence since 1898. Her grandfather started the business as a homebuilder in New York and her father followed suit, first in NY and NJ and then for more than 50 years in Sarasota. In the late 1970s, her father became a commercial real estate developer in the area and built and leased U.S. post offices in approximately 10 states. Marian joined the company in 1988 after getting a master’s degree and serving as the Assistant Dean of the College of Education at the University of New Orleans. Marian currently sits on the national board of the Association of U.S. Postal Lessors.

Alan Kurland, Vice Chair, had an impressive first professional job - the Artistic Director of the Theatre of Savannah. He also served as an overseas Army Combat Correspondent. When Alan returned home, he became a residential home builder/developer in the Washington, D.C. area, Florida, and California, and then founded a software retail company. Prior to joining WBTT, Alan was vice-president and treasurer of the Asolo Repertory Theatre board.

Cheryl Anderson, Treasurer, provides CFO advisory services, accounting and technology to new startups and existing small businesses and not-for-profit entities. In December of 2014 she opened Executive Accounting Solutions of Sarasota, LLC where she is doing what she loves best, helping business owners organize and understand their financial position, just as she did for WBTT.  Cheryl knows that with this understanding the sky’s the limit for success. Cheryl has a BS in Accounting and a MBA.  She worked for two Fortune 500 companies where she dealt with small businesses across the country. Cheryl is also a former small business owner with multiple locations in several states and was a partner in a CPA here in Sarasota, FL.

Magdiel “Mike” Rosario, Secretary, launched Sarasota’s Rose Management in 1989 as an investment property management venture. Within a few years, the company’s success evolved into what is now RoseBay International, Inc. with more than 60 agents. As the company’s president, Mike established offices in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

TRUSTEES

Marvin Albert retired from business in 2000 to become a full-time writer. Locally he is known best as a playwright, whose work has been either read or produced by Theatre Odyssey, the Players, and Longboat Key Education Center. In addition to WBTT, Marvin serves on the Theatre Odyssey board of directors. He is also a member of The Dramatist Guild of America.

Chris Caswell, Esq. has practiced law for over 30 years and is a member of the Florida and Georgia bar associations. He is also a Certified Financial Planner. Active in his profession and the community, Chris has served as the President of FPA Suncoast, on the Executive Council of The Florida Bar’s Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section, and a board member of the Economic Development Council of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. Chris was a founder and former chairman of the Florida West Coast International Affairs Commission. In his spare time, Chris enjoys frequent acting engagements.

Kitty Cranor moved to Sarasota from Louisville, KY, where she served on several not-for-profit boards, including The Louisville Zoological Gardens, The Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, Actor’s Theatre, and The Kilgore Samaritan Counseling Center. She has a B.A. from Salem College and an M.B.A. from The Darden School at University of Virginia. Since moving to Sarasota, Kitty has been an active volunteer at Tidewell Hospice, The Out-of-Door Academy, All Faiths Food Bank, and Healthy Start.

Michael Gardiner comes to the board with vast experience in marketing and sales in the travel and hospitality industries. He held executive positions in Diners Club International, Resorts Condominiums International, and Hertz Rent A Car, where he was the Executive Vice President of Marketing for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Michael is a strong advocate for WBTT and the Dream Center in Manatee County. An avid theater buff, Michael and his wife, Karen, divide their time between Los Angeles and Sarasota.

Sy Goldblatt has an unusually varied background. Armed with a BS degree in physics and math, he spent 10 years working for the Department of Defense on the detection of signals from atomic bombs. For the next 10 years, he oversaw his own electronic and medical instrumentation company. Sy then started, and ran for 30 years, a money management company that managed investments for university endowments and foundations. Recently retired, Sy volunteers as a mentor for homeless veterans, and along with his wife Shelley, participates in numerous education programs, and supports young performing artists.

Len Gumley has decades of experience in the entertainment industry.In the early years of television broadcasting, he wasinvolved in the production of several shows, including working as the Stage Manager for Milton Berle. He was seen acting alongside John Wayne in the 1949 movie, Sands of Iwo Jima. Len alsohad a long career with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals where he pioneered the filming of medical procedures. Len is a graduate of the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts.

Dr. Jaih Jackson, D.D.S, is the founder of American Family Dental in Lakewood Ranch. He has a strong family history in the dental profession as his father is an orthodontist in St. Petersburg, and his mother is a professor at Temple University School of Dentistry. After receiving his dental degree from Howard University, Jaih practiced briefly with his father and then committed his services to Plant City, helping migrant workers and other community families. In 2002 he opened his own practice.

Doris Johnson enjoyed a successful career in medical office administration management in Texas before retiring to Sarasota with her husband. She also had myriad professional and volunteer board involvements, including serving as president of the State of Texas Medical Association Alliance, president of the Tarrant County AIDS Outreach Center as well as a member of the Harris Methodist Hospital Foundation, to name a few.

George Kole is a retired executive from TWA who moved to Sarasota from New Jersey. Before joining the WBTT board he was already a devoted sponsor and co-producer of the Troupe. With an interest in live theater, George has also been involved with other local professional theater organizations.

Margie Nellum Lee is a retired District Manager and Area Director of the Social Security Administration. Margie was also the Founder and Executive Director of Daniel J. Nellum Youth Services, a child welfare agency in Chicago. In addition to being a Trustee, Margie serves as the co-chair of the WBTT Advisory Board. She is on the Van Wezel Foundation Board and Any Given Child Executive Council.

Howard Millman has been involved in theater since the age of 17. Although a fine director and actor, he has distinguished himself in theater management. Howard was the Managing Director of the Asolo Theatre from 1968-1980. He left Sarasota to become the Producing Artistic Director of the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York. In 1995 the Asolo was in a crisis and Howard agreed to return as the Producing Artistic Director. During his tenure, he helped to successfully balance the budget, turn the theater around financially, rebuild audiences, and create a national reputation for excellence.

Dr. Randall C. Morgan, MD, MBA., is a Sarasota-based orthopedic surgeon with Sarasota Orthopedic Associates who also serves as the Executive Director of the W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute. A graduate of Howard University College of Medicine, he also completed a Residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Northwestern University, a fellowship in Pediatric Orthopedics and obtained an MBA degree at USF. Randall has received many honors through the years such as the 1986 “Physician of the Year” by the National Medical Association, Northwest Indiana Chapter and was elected to Gary, Indiana’s “Steel City Hall of Fame.” Currently, he serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor at two medical schools. Since the age of 11 Randall has sung publicly in cities around the U.S. as well as internationally. He has formed many bands, including most recently, the Soul Sensations, who entertain local crowds in many venues. He is also a member of the Gulf Coast Community Choir, that performs for enjoyment and raises funds for community service as a result of those performances.

Roger Pettingell is a successful Coldwell Banker real estate associate, specializing in luxury waterfront properties. With a strong marketing and technology background, he is frequently recognized as one of the company’s top selling agents in Florida. Roger is on the board of Southeastern Guide Dogs, The Ringling Museum, and has served as a volunteer for Big Brothers, Red Cross, the Humane Society, and Southside Elementary School. Roger was recognized by a local organization as the Father of the Year for 2010.

Eva Slane started as an aspiring actress in NY City, but quickly became an Equity licensed theatrical agent in an agency with such prestigious clients as Helen Hayes, James Earl Jones, Lillian Gish, Martha Graham, and Horton Foote. In 1960 she met and married Stephan Slane who was the founder and Artistic Producing Director of the North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) in Beverly, Mass. Eva retired as an agent and assisted Stephan in NSMT’s operations until they retired in 1983. After moving to Sarasota, Eva became a strong supporter of the arts and has been honored by several organizations for her efforts. She has served on the WBTT Board since its beginning.

Lois Watson has a Master of Science in Library Science from Purdue University and enjoyed a 30-year career in Philadelphia as a librarian and technical education specialist. With a strong commitment to volunteerism, Lois’s involvement includes membership in Links, Inc. and the Suncoast chapter of the Society Inc. In 1996, Lois was one of 16 members to charter Manatee Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The film Veterans of Color began under her two-term presidency of ASALH and opened at the 2012 Sarasota Film Festival.

HONORARY BOARD MEMBER

Mary Ann Robinson is the consummate professional volunteer whose time and talents have significantly impacted many area organizations. WBTT greatly appreciates her generosity of spirit and important contributions.

AMBASSADOR

Christine Jennings served as WBTT’s CEO from 2009-2014. Under her leadership, the Troupe became financially strong and was able to purchase a 2 ½-acre site for our own theatre. She has a varied background involving finance, politics, and community service. Her 40-year career in banking culminated in a 14-year stint as the Founder, President, CEO, and Chairperson of the Board for the highly successful Sarasota Bank. Since Christine moved to Sarasota in 1984, she has been in leadership positions on boards for a number of arts, civic and not-for-profit organizations. Currently, Christine is the Chair of the Sarasota County Democratic Party. Christine has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Outstanding Volunteer for the National Society of Fundraising Executives, Sarasota County Arts Council’s Arts Management Award, and SCOPE’s Boundary Crosser Award, to name a few.

Advisory Board

  • Steven Krause Co-Chair
  • Margie Nellum Lee Co-Chair
  • Gerri Aaron
  • Scott Anderson
  • Hon. Dennis Archer
  • Morgan R. Bentley, Esq.
  • Lynne Bernfield
  • Murray Blueglass
  • Jo Ann Bono
  • Dr. Francine Brown
  • Frank Brunckhorst
  • Michael Bush
  • Dr. Kenneth Bryant
  • Carol Buchanan
  • Taylor Chadsey
  • Audrey Coleman
  • Judy Cuppy
  • Linda DesMarais
  • E. Keith DuBose, Esq.
  • Robert Gaglio
  • Gypsy Gallardo
  • Richard Gerrity
  • David Goldman, Esq.
  • Ron Greenbaum
  • Howard Harris
  • Charlie Huisking
  • Amb. Jeanette Hyde
  • Jerry Kaplan
  • Penelope Kingman
  • J.P. Knaggs
  • Lynne Koy
  • Allan C. Lane
  • Joyce Locklear
  • Commissioner Carolyn Mason
  • Sandy Moser
  • Andi Munzer
  • William Partridge, Esq.
  • Debbie Partridge
  • Ann Hobson Pilot
  • Prentice Pilot
  • Lauri Pollack
  • Dr. Henry L. Porter
  • Rep. Darryl Rouson
  • Steve Seidensticker
  • David Shapiro, Esq.
  • Ken Shelin
  • Edna Sherrell
  • Teresa Simmons
  • Warren G. Simonds, PhD
  • Dr. Judith Wilcox
  • Hon. Charles E. Williams
  • Sally Yanowitz
  • Victor Young
  • Barbara A. Zdravecky