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.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to announce that its second play for this season, August Wilson's Jitney, opened on Friday, January 4, 2013 and runs until Sunday, February 3. All performances take place in the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Theater at 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Times are Tuesday-Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm with Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm. Ticket price is $29.50. Reservations may be made online at www.wbttsrq.org or by calling the box office at 941-366-1505.

We are so honored to have Dr. Morgan join our organization, remarked Board Chair Julie Leach. Not only is he a talented and successful surgeon, but he has shown himself to be very generous with his time, talents and leadership skills in helping others throughout his life. We know Dr. Morgan will be a valuable member of our board and we could not be happier to have him with us.

Dr. Morgan has achieved a career of excellence in service to his patients, visionary leadership in group medical practice, community and youth mentorship, and several national medical organizations. He presently serves as the first Executive Director of the W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association (NMA) Health Institute, which is named for one of his Howard University Medical School faculty members and mentors. Morgan received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine and served an internship and orthopedic surgery residency at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he was recognized as 'Resident of the Year.' He completed his residency in Downey, CA, and then returned to IL where he became the first African American surgeon on staff at Evanston Hospital. Due to a serious community need for orthopedic surgeons in his hometown of Gary, Indiana, he returned there to practice medicine for over 30 years. He was founder of The Orthopedic Centers of Northwest Indiana, where he served as president from 1975-1995.

Among his many titles and recognitions are Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and certification by the American Board of Managed Care Medicine. He has been named 'Physician of the Year' by the National Medical Association Northwest Indiana Chapter. The city of Gary recognized his contributions by electing Dr. Morgan to the Steel City Hall of Fame. In 2005, Dr. Morgan received the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award for National Service and the Joseph Pitts Award for Community Service from the Gary, Indiana branch of the NAACP.

In addition to his professional career, Morgan is a tenor-baritone and has been singing publicly since age 11, appearing around the country, as well as Spain and Italy. Locally he appears with the Soul Sensations, a group he helped found six years ago. Joining Morgan with vocals are Sarasota favorites Katt Hefner and Dana Merriwether. He is also a member of the Gulf Coast Community Choir.

'I echo Julie's comments,' continued Nate Jacobs, founder and artistic director of WBTT. 'Dr. Morgan is an accomplished professional on so many levels. We are honored that he has decided to be a part of our organization.'

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. (WBTT) is the only professional black theater company on Florida's West Coast. The mission is to 'produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth.' Throughout the past decade, WBTT has produced many productions and has gained a reputation for high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining performances.

Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many African-American youth. Many of the aspiring professional artists trained in the WBTT performing arts program have gone on to work with national and regional companies, including Apphia Campbell who most recently has been seen performing her one-woman show, Black is the Color of My Voice, in Shanghai and New York and Teresa Stanley who was a featured cast member on Broadway in The Color Purple and presently stars in Rock of Ages. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at www.wbttroupe.org, follow on Facebook or call 941-366-1505.

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