SARASOTA, FLA.: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) has announced its 2021-22 season, with a Maya Angelou-inspired theme, “And Still We Rise.” The season will begin in October and will feature two world premieres of one-act plays.
“We are thrilled to return to our theatre for the upcoming season and showcase the indomitable spirit of African Americans and our theatre,” founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs said in a statement. “We have built our season not only to present vibrant works that shine a spotlight on Black creators, artists, and issues, but also productions featuring smaller casts to ensure artist safety and alignment with Equity requirements as we all try to find our way back to normalcy.”
The season will open with Eubie! (Oct. 6-Nov. 21), a revue of Eubie Blake songs that stormed Broadway in the 1970s. This salute to a Black Broadway pioneer will be directed by Jim Weaver.
Following will be the world premiere of the musical revue Joyful! Joyful! (Dec. 1-30), directed by Jacobs. The blend of traditional holiday tunes, gospel-infused classics, and pop songs will also feature talented students from the Stage of Discovery Program.
Next up will be the world premiere of the musical Ruby (Jan. 12-Feb. 24, 2022) by Michael Jacobs, with music by Darin Atwater and lyrics by Jacobs and Atwater. Ruby tells the story of the 1952 murder of a white doctor by a Black woman in Florida, which brought celebrated writer Zora Neale Hurston to town to cover the story for a Northern newspaper. Nate Jacobs will direct.
The season will continue with an original revue by Nate Jacobs, Broadway in Black (March 9-April 24, 2022). The revue features favorite songs from breakthrough roles that helped launch the careers of African American artists. Donald Frison will choreograph and Jacobs will direct.
WBTT will also present two new one-act plays under the auspices of its New Playwrights Series. Tara Conner jones will present From Birmingham to Broadway, an ode to Nell Carter in which jones will also star. Nate and Michael Jacobs will present Float Like a Butterfly, about the life of Muhammad Ali. The plays will run May 4-29, 2022.
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is the only Black theatre company on Florida’s West Coast. WBTT’s mission 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.
Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by making a donation to our publisher, Theatre Communications Group. When you support American Theatre magazine and TCG, you support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism. Click here to make your fully tax-deductible donation today!