Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is getting ready to kick off its 15th year as a performing Sarasota arts organization in a really big way! On Monday night, October 6th, beginning at 8:00 pm, WBTT will stage an evening of entertainment at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall that epitomizes who they are and what they do. The evening starts with a pre-show performed by some of the Troupe’s well-known artists. Following that is Sarasota’s first introduction to The Eve of Jackie, an original musical play about the life of Jackie Wilson, written and performed by an award-winning Broadway performer Chester Gregory.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is announcing its summer season with two exciting musical plays being presented by accomplished and talented Troupe members. June 10th- 22nd, WBTT proudly presents Black Is the Color of My Voice, a one-woman show starring founding Troupe member Apphia Campbell, followed by WBTT’s hit show from 2011, Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul (new name) with Sheldon Roden returning in the title role.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to announce that -- in less than one year -- it has paid off its mortgage loan from BB&T Bank in Sarasota. The money was received on March 26, 2013 and completely paid off on March 12, 2014. The Troupe's property is located at 1646 10th Way at Orange Avenue in Sarasota and includes two buildings on almost two acres.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) will open its second summer production, Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul, on Wednesday July 16th, running through Sunday, August 10th. The musical play is a revised version of Marvin Gaye: The Man and His Music, which played to sold-out audiences in WBTT’s 2011 main season. The play features many of the same cast members including the lead role of Marvin Gaye being performed by Sheldon Roden. Founding Artistic Director Nate Jacobs is the creator and director of the piece. The show will be performed Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 pm with Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm. Price is $29.50 for adults and $16.50 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at www.wbttsrq.org or by calling the box office at 941-366-1505.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is hosting a special panel discussion on Wednesday, February 26, WBTT, in honor of February’s significant designation as Black History Month. A distinguished panel of experts will participate in a discussion entitled WBTT Voices: A Communication Forum. The topic is the influence of black entertainers on civil rights. Panelists include Former mayor of Detroit and past President of the American Bar Association Justice Dennis Archer; Sarasota Herald Tribune’s Theater and Television Critic Jay Handelman; retired principal harpist of Boston Symphony Orchestra, professor and world-renowned soloist Ann Hobson-Pilot; WBTT Founding Artistic Director Nate Jacobs; and former Producing Artistic Director of the Asolo Repertory Theatre, director and WBTT Trustee Howard J. Millman. There is no charge to come and be part of this stimulating discussion, which will take place from 2:30 – 5:00 PM at the WBTT Theater, 1646 10th Way, in Sarasota. Space is limited and seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to announce that Steven J. Krause will co-chair its Advisory Board, along with current co-chair Margie Nellum Lee. Krause is a Senior Vice President and Trust Advisor at Northern Trust Bank. He moved to Sarasota approximately two years ago from Chicago. After being introduced to Christine Jennings and enjoying WBTT performances, he became very interested in the organization, it’s talented young performers and what the organization does to further enlighten the community.

The Board of Directors of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to announce the appointment of Richard M. Parison, Jr. as the new Executive Director of WBTT, beginning September 8, 2014. As Executive Director, he will be responsible for overseeing all programmatic, administrative and financial operations including development and fundraising, marketing, human resources, finance and special events. Parison comes to WBTT from his current position as Executive Director of CenterStage Foundation at Richmond CenterStage, central Virginia’s premiere performing arts center. He has held this position since 2010. Parison was selected as Executive Director after a nationwide search by WBTT’s search committee, which was chaired by Board President Julie Leach and included Trustees Sy Goldblatt, Margie Nellum Lee, Howard Millman, and Marian Moss, with community leaders and WBTT supporters Audrey Coleman and Dr. Bernard Watson.