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

SARASOTA, FL – There have been few times in recent memory when people were as in need of a laugh as they are right now. To help lift the spirits of community members as well as theater fans wherever they may be, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is pleased to offer streaming video of “Aunt Rudele’s Family Reunion.”

Evening, outdoor cabaret-style performances will feature a live band and popular WBTT artists

SARASOTA, FL – In October 2020, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe reemerged from behind closed curtains to present an open-air concert series, titled “Light Up the Night!” After just a few weeks onstage, though, the production was forced to close due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among cast and crew. Rising virus numbers caused WBTT to be cautious with regard to any further performances; however, with the holiday surge in COVID-19 receding, WBTT will take to its outdoor performance area once more, starting Friday, February 12 and running through Sunday, March 14.

Legendary folk artist encourages the recording of homegrown versions of her new song to brighten difficult times

SARASOTA, FL – In April, the day after John Prine died, renowned folk singer – and recent transplant to Sarasota – Janis Ian wrote a new song, “Better Times Will Come,” and then posted it online. Ian and her colleagues were all canceling their 2020 shows and she thought that maybe some could generate some revenue and social media buzz by recording homegrown versions of the tune. Nine months later, “The Better Times Project” has been born and nearly 190 versions of the song have been recorded – including an upbeat, gospel-flavored version by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT).

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.

SARASOTA, FL – After a previous postponement (from November 13th to the 22nd), Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has decided to cancel its fall gala, "Soul in Garden." The event – which was sold out at a limited capacity (for safe social distancing) but available for wider view through livestreaming – will return in 2021. This year's planned Heart & Soul Philanthropy honoree, Marian Moss, will be recognized at the event next year.

WBTT is still rebounding from an outbreak of COVID-19 among the cast and crew of its "Light Up the Night" open-air concerts. Additionally, with virus case numbers sharply increasing throughout the state, the arts organization did not feel it would be safe or responsible to host the event at this time.

On Sunday, November 22, 6-9 p.m., Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents its annual fall gala in a beautiful outdoor setting, with cocktails, dinner, live auction and a show celebrating the Sixties, when sweet soul music was in full bloom. Songs will include megahits like "Dancing In the Street," "Twistin' the Night Away," "Try a Little Tenderness" and "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)." WBTT will honor longtime supporter and immediate past board chair, Marian Moss, as its 2020 Heart & Soul Philanthropy honoree. Delicious dinner catered by Michael's On East. Takes place at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (800 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota). Limited to 150 guests to ensure safe social distancing; livestream option is available for those unable to attend. Attire: cool and comfy with a groovy 1960s flair. Tickets: $250/in person, $100/live stream (7-9 PM). For more information or to check availability of in-person event tickets, contact Debra Flynt-Garrett at 941-366-1505, ext. 106, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SARASOTA, Fla. - Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has temporarily halted the run of its "Light Up the Night!" open-air concerts due to illness: four professionals involved with the show have tested positive for COVID-19. Per CDC guidelines, those who tested positive or had contact with exposed persons will quarantine for the recommended periods and will need to be symptom-free and receive two negative test results before returning to work.

All performers, band members, crew members, and WBTT staff members are tested every other week for COVID-19 and will now be tested again immediately to determine if there has been any further spread. Additionally, in an abundance of caution, WBTT will stay in close consultation with area public health officials to determine when "Light Up the Night" might safely reopen.