Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul features popular WBTT artist Sheldon Rhoden, who takes a third turn in the production’s lead role

SARASOTA, FL – For its second offering of the 2018-2019 mainstage season, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is bringing back one of its most popular productions, Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul. Sheldon Rhoden – who starred in the show in 2011 and 2014 – returns in the title role; WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs is the creator and director. The show runs November 28, 2018 – January 13, 2019, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and weekend matinees at 2 p.m. at the Westcoast Black Theatre (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota).

Musical based on ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ explores a family in conflict
SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe opens its 2018-2019 mainstage season with Raisin. The show is a musical theatre adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play, A Raisin in the Sun. The show runs October 3 – November 11, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and weekend matinees at 2 p.m. at the Westcoast Black Theatre (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota).

WEDU PBS and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) are working together on an original documentary that will tell the story of WBTT and its charismatic Founder and Artistic Director, Nate Jacobs, and highlight its quest for and impact on inclusion and diversity in the arts in our region. 

In 1999, actor and playwright Nate Jacobs founded WBTT, establishing the unique dramatic company to present and explore the African-American experience. The documentary will examine Jacobs' past, including his time at the Westcoast Center for Human Development and his deeply influential relationship with school founder and mentor Dr. Henry Porter, the history, achievements and experiences of the Troupe and some of its standout artists, and explore Jacobs' vision for the future. 

Musical revue to feature greatest hits from the late Queen of Soul, sung by WBTT female powerhouses on WBTT’s mainstage Sept. 11-15

SARASOTA, FL – In response to the recent passing of the legendary Aretha Franklin, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will present Salute to the Queen: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin. This special celebration of the life and legacy of the "Queen of Soul" will feature popular WBTT artists Naarai Jacobs and founding member Teresa Stanley. The evening will showcase many of Franklin’s best-loved songs and will recognize her remarkable achievements; WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs will narrate the tribute. Songs will include “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman,” “Think,” “Chain of Fools” and many more.

Goal extended to $8 million to ensure ample funds for theater renovation and endowment

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has announced it is extending its Heart & Soul capital campaign, which is funding renovations to its campus and buildings. The organization has exceeded its original $6 million minimum goal and is now preparing to enter the final phase of the campaign: leadership has announced an $8 million final goal to guarantee ample funding for the theater renovation and ensure long-term viability by growing its endowment.

Family-friendly summer production to feature book and lyrics by Nate Jacobs


SARASOTA, FL – This summer, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is pleased to present Rockin’ Down Fairytale Lane, a rousing, family-friendly musical comedy that gives fairytales a new twist. Audiences will follow storylines featuring fairytale characters such as Jack (of giant beanstalk fame), Snow White, Prince Charming, Goldilocks, the three little pigs, and more. The show runs July 25 through August 12, with evening performances at 8 p.m. and weekend matinees at 2 p.m. at the Westcoast Black Theatre (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota). 

SARASOTA, FL -- For the third summer, actors, dancers and singers ages 13-18 are taking the stage with Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. From June 11 through July 16, WBTT is presenting "Stage of Discovery," an intensive summer musical theater program that is offered at no cost to participants. 

The 30 teens are under the direction of WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs and Stage of Discovery coordinator Joey James. WBTT staff and guest instructors, including choreographers, actors and vocal coaches, offer lessons in dance, acting, singing and improvisation, and provide behind-the-scenes experience with set and costume design. The program will culminate with two public performances of "Broadway in Black, Jr." at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Monday, July 16. Tickets, which are available on WBTT's website, are $15/adults, $5/students and active military. Free tickets to the Monday matinee are being provided to groups of students from local summer camps.