Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe opened its final 2010-11 season production, Hi De, Hi De Ho! Cab Calloway, on Friday, April 22. The show runs through Sunday, May 15. This original world premiere was written by award-winning playwright, Larry Parr, writer of Hi Hat Hattie: The Story of Hattie McDaniel and other musical plays that chronicle the lives of famous performers. Jim Weaver, an accomplished New York director/choreographer, actor/singer, has returned to WBTT to direct this production. Previously, Weaver worked with the Troupe as director of Charles Fuller's A Soldier's Story and August Wilson's Fences.

The story meanders through the life of Cab Calloway, taking us from his childhood to throughout his career. Audiences enjoy a three-person cast that includes 13-year-old Troupe member Chris Eisenberg in the part of young Cab. Chris was loved for his performance as a young Michael Jackson in The 60s Motown Revue and is also remembered for his successful run on last summer's America's Got Talent. The adult Cab Calloway is portrayed by founding WBTT artistic director Nate Jacobs. Jaszy McAllister rounds out the cast by playing a variety of female roles.

"We are so excited to be presenting this first run of Hi De, Hi De Ho! Cab Calloway," remarked Nate Jacobs. "Larry Parr is well known throughout our area, as well as nationally, for his scripts depicting the lives of famous African American performers; some of which has even gone on to NYC. Jim Weaver has directed all around the country and Florida, including our own Asolo Theatre. We are honored to be working with them both as we bring their visions to life in this world premiere production."

Even before opening, tickets were selling out for many performances. They may be purchased on the website www.wbttroupe.org or by calling 941-366-1505.

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. (WBTT) was founded in December 1999, by local actor, singer, director and playwright Nate Jacobs. It is the first and only professional black theater company on Florida's West Coast.

The mission of WBTT is to "produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, which attracts diverse audiences while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth." Since its inception, WBTT has produced over 40 productions locally and around the state of Florida. The company has gained a reputation for high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining performances.

WBTT has mentored and inspired many African-American youth through participation in the company's productions. It has provided a platform for talented individuals who might not otherwise have had an opportunity to cultivate their interests and talents. The company has provided a springboard for many national careers including Apphia Campbell and Teresa Stanley, a featured cast member of The Color Purple and Dream Girls on Broadway and the national tour of Rock of Ages.