Musical based on ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ explores a family in conflict
 
SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe opens its 2018-2019 mainstage season with Raisin. The show is a musical theatre adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play, A Raisin in the Sun. The show runs October 3 – November 11, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and weekend matinees at 2 p.m. at the Westcoast Black Theatre (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota).

Raisin takes place in 1950s Southside Chicago and revolves around a working-class black family aspiring to a better life after the death of their father. Hope is sparked by the arrival of a $10,000 life insurance check. However, conflict ensues when mother and son want to spend the money in different ways. Walter Lee Younger Jr. wants to use the money to open a liquor business. For Mama Lena, however, the windfall means the opportunity to move out of the slums and finance daughter Beneatha's medical school education.
 
The songs are by Judd Woldin and Robert Brittan, and the book by Robert Nemiroff (Hansberry’s friend and former husband) and Charlotte Zaltzberg. This was one of the first African-American shows to appear on Broadway; it was nominated for nine Tony Awards and won two, including Best Musical. Additionally, the show was recognized with a Grammy Award for Best Score From the Original Cast Show Album (the category is now known as Best Musical Theatre Album).
 
“I have wanted to present this show to area audiences for years,” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. “This production examines intra-family relationships and conflict as well as issues of poverty and racial and gender discrimination – issues which still resonate in our country today. The score is simply fabulous, with a mix of jazz, gospel and blues. I really believe audiences are going to love this show.”
 
Jim Weaver is the show’s director and choreographer. The cast includes Jannie Jones (Mama), Brian L. Boyd (Walter Lee), JoAnna Ford (Ruth), Kiara Hines (Beneatha) and young Kenyon Edwards (Travis). Other WBTT favorites in the show include Earley Dean (Pastor), Patric Robinson (Willie Harris) and Ashley D. Brooks (Jazz Singer).
 
Brennan Stylez is music director and pianist; the rest of the band includes Keith Carmen (auxiliary keys), Joe Bruno (bass), John Walker (drums), and Bill O’Hara and Greg Amos (woodwinds).
 
Stage manager is Juanita Munford, production manager is James “Jay” Dodge II, Michael Newton Brown is set designer, Michael Pasquini is lighting designer, Annette Breazeale is Property Master, Patrick Russini is sound engineer, and Angela Franklin-Mayo is costume designer.
 
Tickets are $45/adults, $20/students and active military (with valid ID). Call the Box Office at (941) 366-1505 or go to westcoastblacktheatre.org.
 
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe:
The mission of 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 about WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call 941-366-1505.

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