Free streaming video from 2019 MLK Day celebration features re-enactments of Dr. King’s speeches, song and dance

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe invites the community to celebrate the rich legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with “MLK: Celebrating His Legacy in Spoken Word and Song.” The production, which will be available for free streaming on WBTT’s website from January 16-18, features re-enactments of Dr. King’s speeches, song and dance. The program was recorded during WBTT’s 2019 performance at the Booker High School Visual and Performing Arts Theatre.

Program highlights include excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches and writings, re-enacted by Rev. Charles S. McKenzie Jr., interspersed with singing and dancing by some of WBTT’s most popular performers, including WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs. The video will be introduced via newly recorded footage, with remarks by Jacobs, Julie Leach, WBTT’s executive director, and Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

"Especially following a year when racial strife and inequality were at the forefront of issues facing our nation, the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day carries particular significance," said Jacobs. "While WBTT always prefers to be live, we felt we needed to find a way to honor Dr. King and our ‘WBTT Live On-Demand Video’ platform offered a way for us to present the program for the community – and beyond – this year."

This program – which was written and adapted by Jacobs and Rev. McKenzie, and directed by Jacobs – is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Sarasota County Bar Association’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion. Each year, WBTT and the Council celebrate the winners of the Council’s annual MLK essay contest; the 2021 winners are Nora Ngo Mitchell (Booker High School), Oliver Myers (Pine View School) and Marian Morera Bandera (Booker High School). Mitchell will read her first-place essay as part of the MLK celebration video.

"At our organization, we promote and celebrate the African-American experience. Dr. King's leadership during the Civil Rights Movement is a major part of that experience and we are proud to honor his enduring legacy,” said WBTT executive director Julie Leach. "While we are disappointed we can’t bring this program to the community live this year, we are thankful that technology allows us to offer the program free and widely, for all to enjoy."