For Immediate Release

January 12, 2011

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) will open Marvin Gaye: The Man and His Music, on Friday, January 28 in its new theater at 1646 10th Way, in Sarasota. The musical play is an original production, written and directed by WBTT Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. It will run for just over three weeks, through Sunday, February 20.

"I am a personal fan of Marvin Gaye's music," Jacobs explained.  "He has influenced my own singing career.  My mother was a devoted fan and introduced me to his music as a kid.  I felt it would be wonderful to celebrate this artist's contribution to American music, especially as we enter February and honor Black History Month."

Marvin Gaye: The Man and His Music showcases the music that Marvin Gaye fans have come to love and respect. The story shares important facts about Marvin Gaye's life and achievement. It begins in the late 50s before his early days at Motown and continues through the end of his solo career, which ended at the time of his untimely and tragic death in the mid 80s. The show plays on a simple stage set with an ensemble cast of eight, talented, Troupe members, all actors and singers, who are accompanied by a live four-piece band.

Marvin Gaye is being played by Sheldon Roden, who performed Gaye's songs during last summer's sold-out hit Motown 60s Revue, another Jacobs original production. A third-year member of the Troupe, this will be Roden's first lead role.

"When I watched Sheldon do Marvin Gaye's songs last summer, I was inspired," Jacobs continued. "He became Marvin and the reaction from the audience was phenomenal. He was a natural and I decided to create this piece for him."

Tickets for Marvin Gaye: The Man and His Music are $25 and available online at or by calling 941-366-1505.