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.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) announces that their open equity and non-equity auditions have been scheduled for Saturday, August 23, 2014 at the WBTT Theater, 1646 10th Way in Sarasota. The auditions will be held from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. All interested actors must prepare two one-minute contrasting monologues, one comedic and one dramatic. Singers must prepare two 16-bar (one minute) songs, one ballad and one up-tempo.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s 2014-15 season, “Love, Laughter and Legends” is ready to be announced. In addition to four wonderful shows, the schedule includes three Saturday matinees added for each show and a special holiday show being offered in addition to the regular season. Running from October to May, the regular season shows being presented include three musicals with one Nate Jacobs original production and one straight play. The shows are Little Shop of Horrors, Knock Me a Kiss, Jazz Hot Mamas and Spunk. The special holiday show is Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity. Tickets are expected to go on sale later this spring, with an announcement on the WBTT website and Facebook page. Subscriptions will sell for $90 each for the four main season shows. Black Nativity tickets will be sold separately for $35 each; $15 for students with ID. Individual tickets will go on sale in the fall and will cost $29.50 each; $15 for students with ID.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to announce that The William G. and Marie Selby Foundation has approved a grant request for approximately $92,000 that will install new canopies on the north and west sides of the WBTT theater building, where presently there are open concrete walkways. This will improve the appearance of the building as well as act as protection from the weather elements for anyone approaching the building or waiting outside before opening, during intermissions and when leaving the building.