(SARASOTA)  The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) presents a world premiere production, The Magnificent Music of the '40s, which features a musical review of the hit songs of that decade. Originally named The Magnificent Mills Brothers, the production will incorporate many of this group's songs since they were one of the most successful African American groups of all times.

The music of the 1940s reflected the feeling of a nation at war while still remaining positive about the country's future. In the beginning of the decade, music was built around jazz and big band styles. Be-Bop and Rhythm and Blues were popular. Radio programs provided much of the entertainment and people gravitated to the more lively and upbeat music presented to keep their minds off the news.

According to Nate Jacobs, founder and artistic director of WBTT and creator of The Magnificent Music of the '40s, "During the 1940s many breakthrough artists, such as the Mills Brothers, made their mark as innovators. Their style was fun to listen to and challenging to perform. The WBTT has mastered this sound and will take you on a journey through the magnificent songs of the decade."

Audiences will recognize some of their favorite WBTT members in this five-man cast, including Jeffrey Atkins, Leon Pitts, Sheldon Rhoden, Dean Wilson and Nate Jacobs.

The Magnificent '40s opens Friday, March 19, 2010 and runs through April 4th.  All shows are held at the Art Center Sarasota, next to the Municipal Auditorium. The scheduled times are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 P.M. and Sunday matinees at 2:00 P.M.  The calendar can be found on the Troupe's website, www.wbttroupe.org. Individual tickets are $20 a piece and are available by calling the office at 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."

Throughout the past decade, WBTT has produced more than 30 productions locally and around the state of Florida. The company has gained a reputation for high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining performances.

Since its inception, 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 Dreamgirls on Broadway.