WBTT to celebrate and honor Dr. King’s legacy during 50th anniversary year of his assassination with expanded program

SARASOTA, FL – On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe invites the community to celebrate his rich legacy during a community-wide program. The event, titled “Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” will feature re-enactments of Dr. King’s speeches, song and dance. 

Program highlights will include excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches and writings, performed by Reverend Charles McKenzie, interspersed with singing and dancing by some of WBTT’s most popular performers. Founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs and his daughter, Naarai Jacobs, will be featured soloists; other performers will include Ariel Blue, Brian L. Boyd, Ashley Brooks, Elaine Mayo, Michael Mendez, Leon S. Pitts II, and students from WBTT’s summer youth program, Stage of Discovery.

"For all of us at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, the commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy is a significant occasion. This year is particularly poignant as we recognize the 50th anniversary of his death," said Jacobs. "Dr. King fought for equality while always exemplifying the values of justice, dignity, courage and service to others. At our organization, we promote and celebrate the African-American experience – certainly Dr. King's leadership during the Civil Rights Movement is a major part of that experience and we are proud to honor his contributions to creating a more just society for all Americans today."

The event takes place on Monday, January 15, 2018, 7-9 p.m. at Booker High School (3201 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota). The leading event sponsor is the Walter Haskins Fund in memory of Stacey K. Haskins of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

For the past two years, WBTT presented a similar program that was produced as a collaboration with and hosted by Sarasota’s Temple Emanu-El. 

“For this special anniversary, we are bringing a larger cast of singers and needed a larger venue to stage the production,” said WBTT executive director Julie Leach. “By presenting the event at the Booker High School theater we hope to reach more people throughout the community. We are grateful for the financial support received through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, which is enabling us to keep ticket prices low.”

Cost is $10/reserved seating, $35/premium reserved seating. For tickets, go to westcoastblacktheatre.org or call the WBTT Box Office at (941) 366-1505, ext. 1.

PHOTO ID: Performers from a previous celebration of Dr. King included (clockwise from upper left) Reverend Charles McKenzie, Nate Jacobs, Christopher Eisenberg, Leon S. Pitts II, Jeff Cash, Jr., James E. Dodge II, Elaine Mayo, and Ariel Blue

About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe:

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. is the only professional black theater company on Florida’s West Coast. The mission 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.