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.

On Monday October 6th, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) will kick off its 15-year anniversary year on the Van Wezel stage with a one-night-only performance of The Eve of Jackie, a tribute to Jackie Wilson, starring Chester Gregory who was also an original creator of the show. Known to sellout most audiences wherever it is presented, The Eve of Jackie offers a first-hand experience with the renowned singer live in concert, with his band and soul back-up singers, on a night when he is compelled to share details of his troubled life. The timing is September 28, 1975, a date that turns out to be Wilson’s final performance. The date is the night before his tragic onstage heart attack, which put him into a coma for over nine years, before he finally died in January 1984.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe opens its 2014-15 season with one of the of the longest-running Off-Broadway shows of all time, Little Shop of Horrors. This charming and very funny musical is a spoof of the 1950s-era, B-movie, sci-fi flicks with a story that features an extraterrestrial plant with a man-eating appetite. The show opens on Friday, October 15th and will run thru Sunday, November 16th. Performances, at the WBTT Theater at 1646 10th Way in Sarasota, are Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 pm with a Sunday matinee at 2:00. Individual tickets cost $29.50 and may be purchased online at www.wbttsrq.org or by calling the box office, 941-366-1505.

Christine Jennings, CEO of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT), has announced that she will be retiring from WBTT by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, which ends on September 30th. Her plans include enjoying more leisure time in which to travel and visit with family and friends.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) will open its third show of the season with sold-out ticket sales even before opening. In order to meet an anticipated demand, the Troupe added two additional performances, which also quickly sold out.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to announce that Debra Flynt-Garrett has joined the Troupe administrative team as Executive Assistant/Donor Administrator. Flynt-Garrett previously worked with the organization from 2009 to 2012 solely as executive assistant to Executive Director Christine Jennings. In this new capacity, Flynt-Garrett expands her role to include responsibility for a variety of donor-sponsorship and grant-related activities.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) plans to end the season on a “hot note” when it opens its final show of the 2013-14 season on Friday, April 11th with Bubbling Brown Sugar, a musical revue featuring the music of numerous African-American artists who were popular during the Harlem Renaissance. The show will run through May 11th. Evening performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 pm. Matinees are scheduled every Sunday at 2:00 pm; two Saturday matinees have also been scheduled for May 3rd and 10th. Individual tickets may be purchased for $29.50. To check availability and purchase tickets go online to www.wbttsrq.org or call the box office at 941-366-1505.