'Your Arms Too Short to Box with God' is now closed; WBTT will monitor coronavirus situation to inform decisions on remainder of season schedule

SARASOTA, FL – Due to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations advising the cancellation or postponement of gatherings of more than 50 people in the face of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe officials have closed the current production of "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God." The show was slated to run through April 5; the organization – which has committed to paying the "Your Arms Too Short" artists, band and crew through the scheduled end of the run – faces a potential financial loss of $50,000 for each week that the theatre remains closed.

WBTT has also postponed its annual spring fundraiser, the April Fools Fete, from March 30 to May 18; this event benefits WBTT's education programs. Rehearsals for the next scheduled show, the world-premiere musical "Ruby" (penned by WBTT Founder/Artistic Director Nate Jacobs and his brother, Michael Jacobs) continue as WBTT monitors CDC recommendations and state and community guidelines related to efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus. That show is scheduled to open in mid-April.

"This is an extremely disappointing and fluid situation," said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. "We are actively monitoring the global outbreak and will adhere to the recommendations of medical and public officials to protect the health and safety of our patrons, artists and staff. Of course – like many arts organizations, nonprofits and area businesses – our organization will take a significant economic hit and we're currently examining ways we can offset the eventual costs of going dark for however long may be necessary."  

While WBTT is encouraging supporters to consider donating the cost of their tickets to help the nonprofit performing arts organization through these difficult times, it is offering refunds for patrons with tickets to "Your Arms Too Short," upon request. It is also offering ticket exchanges for a later show in the current season, where seats are available. The Box Office will be closed for in-person transactions but the phone lines (941-366-1505) are staffed. The organization asks for patience and requests that patrons unable to get through immediately leave voicemails, with a promise to return calls in the order they are received.

The organization thanks the community for its support and generosity and looks forward to raising the curtain once again as soon as the CDC and local public health officials deem it advisable. WBTT is posting updates on its website: westcoastblacktheatre.org.

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. Its mission is to produce professional theater 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, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call 941-366-1505.