‘Aunt Rudele's Family Reunion’ promises side-splitting laughs in portrayal of outspoken, busybody relative

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs will once again don a dirty-blond wig, glasses and heels to reprise his role as "Aunt Rudele" this month in Aunt Rudele's Family Reunion. Show runs two nights only: Friday and Saturday, August 19 and 20, at 8 p.m. Takes place at the Westcoast Black Theatre (1646 10th Way, Sarasota).

Aunt Rudele's Family Reunion is a hilarious one-man (one-woman) show written by and starring Nate Jacobs as Aunt Rudele, the relative who knows no boundaries but always knows best. While attending the Stevens family reunion, Aunt Rudele introduces her kinfolk through songs, dances, prayers, sermons, and verbal duels. Her observations are searing and laugh-out loud funny. In the Southern tradition, this show serves up a main dish of laughter with a side order of down-home wisdom.

Jacobs has performed as Aunt Rudele at venues locally and around the country – including the 2001 National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina, where the show was a huge hit. The character was born in 1978 when Jacobs was performing stand-up comedy throughout college and beyond. In 1999, Jacobs’ friend Larry Leon Hamlin – the founder and artistic director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company as well as the founder and executive director of the National Black Theatre Festival – helped Jacobs develop the show for the stage. His most recent turn as Aunt Rudele came during a limited run at WBTT in May 2013.

Jacobs was inspired to create the character of Aunt Rudele by the women he was surrounded by as he grew up, particularly his mother and grandmother. Both women have now passed; his grandmother died just a few years ago at the age of 95.

"The character comes out of my life experience, from being surrounded by strong, devout African-American women," Jacobs said. "Aunt Rudele is a combination of my grandmother’s wisdom and indomitable strength and my mother’s bright personality and incredible sense of humor. While Aunt Rudele may often be annoying, even rude and insulting, I created her with a great deal of affection and I hope audiences will feel that."

Aunt Rudele's Family Reunion is directed by Sarasota-based director and playwright Dr. Julian Olf, who previously directed and taught playwriting at UMass-Amherst, where he also served as Theater Department Chair. His plays have been seen in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Baton Rouge, and Vancouver; he has won numerous awards for his work. Olf and Jacobs have worked together on edits and additions to the script and staging of this show.

Tickets are $24/adult, $18 students and active military with valid ID. Call the Box Office at (941) 366-1505 or go to westcoastblacktheatre.org.

PHOTO ID: Nate Jacobs in character as Aunt Rudele in ‘Aunt Rudele’s Family Reunion’

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 plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.