Arts organization’s annual gala to highlight best music of Motown era, honor supporters Audrey Coleman and Eva Slane

SARASOTA, FL - Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will celebrate its 18th anniversary and present its major annual gala, this year titled “Motown Mania,” on Friday, November 17, 6-10pm at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium (801 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota). Attendees will be treated to the best music of the Motown era and fete two special supporters during the festive and exciting program. 

Guests will enjoy a cocktail reception, delicious dinner and open bar, a special Motown performance featuring dynamic actor and recording artist Chester Gregory, and dancing to the WBTT band. During the event, longtime supporters Audrey Coleman and Eva Slane will receive Heart & Soul Philanthropy Awards, in recognition of their ongoing leadership and financial support on behalf of the organization. Additionally, guests will have the opportunity to bid on three spectacular auction packages, with Michael Klauber serving as auctioneer.

WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs is excited for the opportunity to incorporate music from an era that saw African-American artists break into the mainstream and reach new heights. The stunning success of Berry Gordy’s legendary Motown record label helped to transform our country’s musical landscape.

“The Motown era was a game-changer for black artists and producers, and helped to influence social and cultural change. We are thrilled to feature music from Motown in two shows this season: A Motown Christmas and Soul Man,” said Jacobs. “The upbeat music and inspirational theme will lend themselves to creating a memorable evening for our guests.”

“Our organization is so fortunate to have friends like Audrey and Eva, who have long supported us in numerous aspects of our operations and are passionate about the work we do,” added WBTT executive director Julie Leach. “We are looking forward to acknowledging their immense contributions to our organization - we would not be where we are today without their leadership, dedication, and generosity.”

Co-chairs are Brenda Belsito and Debbie Partridge. Major sponsors are The Brunckhorst Family, the Walter Haskins Fund in memory of Stacey K. Haskins at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, John & Kitty Cranor, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Marian Moss, Sarasota Magazine, and Willis Smith. Tickets are $200/person. Call WBTT at (941) 366-1505, ext. 106 for tickets or further information.

About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe:

The mission of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates the African-American experience, to attract diverse audiences, to support and develop African-American artists, and to build the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at > or call (941) 366-1505.