Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to announce that founding Troupe member Teresa Stanley will join them as a cast member in their season opening show, Love, Sung in the Key of Aretha. Teresa Stanley has been a favorite of Sarasota audiences since she became known to them through WBTT. Stanley grew up performing with the Troupe and then went on to perform on Broadway in The Color Purple, and in the national tours of Rock of Ages and the 30th Anniversary tour of Ain't Misbehavin'. This will be the first time she has performed in a Troupe play since leaving the area for New York, over five years ago.

Teresa is one of our biggest stars and is very popular with local audiences, exclaimed Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. She started with the Troupe when she was 14 years old and just blossomed with every role she took. She now enjoys a busy theatrical career based in New York City. We are thrilled that she has a break in her performance schedule and has agreed to be a part of our cast for the season opening play. She's a real professional and a dynamic performer. All the cast is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her.

Teresa Stanley's first local musical was WBTT's production of Purlie playing the role of Luttibelle Gussiemae Jenkins. She received rave reviews from critics who called her a shinning star. She went on to play roles in productions such as Showboat, Eubie, All Night Strut, Sophisticated Ladies, Ain't Misbehavin', and Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She landed starring roles as Dorothy in The Wiz, and Effie White in Dreamgirls. Stanley has sung and toured with The New York Harlem Singers, The Broadway Church Ladies, Henry L. Porter and The Love Campaign, Dewayne Harvey and Unrestrained Praise, the Westcoast Gospel Chorus of Florida, and WBTT. Teresa's long-time dream to appear on Broadway became true in April 2007 when she was cast in The Color Purple, playing countless roles, and ending the run on Broadway as Church Lady Darlene.

Love, Sung in the Key of Aretha is an original production, conceived and written by Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. Set in the summer of 1968, a year of intense political and racial unrest, the play presents a slice of life during that time, as it follows the lives of four African-American women. The music of Aretha Franklin is used to express the frustration, trials and tribulations that face each of them during sometimes happy, sometimes sad events. Besides Stanley, other familiar Troupe members in the cast include Ariel Blue, Tsadok Porter, Allysa White, Santoy Campbell and Mikeyy Mendez. New and performing with the Troupe for the first time are Steve Cannon, Jasmine Le Shea. Damienne Flagler and Chakara Rosa.

Our original plays and musical revues are always among our most popular productions, remarked Jacobs. The success of Marvin Gaye last season inspired me to finish this piece, which has been in my mind for more than a few years.  I think the audience will really relate to Aretha's great lyrics and music which expressed what so many felt in their everyday lives during the tumultuous 1960s.

The play opens on Friday, December 16 and runs through Monday, January 16. All shows Tuesday through Saturday begin at 8:00 pm. Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 pm. The WBTT theater is located at 1646 10th Way in Sarasota. Subscriptions for the 2011-2012 season are still available and cost $75 for four plays. The cost of a single ticket is $28. All are available online at www.wbttsrq.org or by calling the box office at 941-366-1505.