Nate Jacobs-adapted musical revue features some of WBTT’s most popular artists

SARASOTA, FL – In the 1960s, America was an uneasy place: the battle for civil rights was ongoing, international tensions were at an all-time high, and the country lost President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to assassins’ bullets. The popular music of the time incorporated emotions and concepts tied to the decade’s social upheaval while offering a hopeful look at better, more peaceful days to come.

In the upcoming Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe production of Soul Man, audiences will hear some of the most recognizable tunes of the ‘60s, made popular by artists including Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Sam & Dave, James Brown, Otis Redding, The Temptations, Solomon Burke, Ray Charles, and more. The show runs from April 18 - May 26.

"America was in a turbulent place in the early 1960s and the times were reflected in the music of prominent soul and R&B singers," said WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs, who adapted and directs this show. "But these artists helped to soothe our jittery and unsettled nation through their music. For me, Soul Man serves to celebrate the work of artists who wove an important musical genre in this country’s tapestry and pays homage to the voices that helped to define a generation."

Actors performing in the show are “Soul Men 1-5” Sheldon Rhoden, Michael Mendez, Leon S. Pitts, II, Raleigh Mosely, II and Henry Washington, plus Ariel Blue (Diamond) and Derric Gobourne, Jr. (Breezy). Choreographer is Donald Frison.

The live band features James E. Dodge II, bass, who serves as music director and production manager for the show; Tanmart Selby, keys; Willie Thompson, guitar; and Donald “Snoopy” Watts, drums. Production stage manager is Juanita Munford. Assistant stage manager is Travis Ray. Scenic design by Michael Newton-Brown. Costume design by Adrienne Pitts. Lighting designer is Michael Pasquini. Property master/designer is Annette Breazeale.

"We felt this would be the perfect close to our ‘Change is Gonna’ Come’ season. WBTT has experienced a lot of change this year – we have moved into our education and outreach building and are preparing to renovate our theater," said WBTT executive director Julie Leach. "What better way to celebrate our evolution than to present the kind of show our patrons love best: a musical revue, featuring some of our most beloved artists? Audiences are going to have a wonderful time!"

The show runs April 18 – May 26, 2018. Performances take place at the WBTT theater (1646 10th Way, Sarasota) at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $42/adults, $20/students and active military (with valid ID).  Call the Box Office (941-366-1505) or go to

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 or call (941) 366-1505.