SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will present its spring fundraiser, the “April Fools’ Fete,” on Thursday, March 31, 6-9pm at Michael’s On East (1212 East Avenue S., Sarasota). Featured performer will be one of WBTT’s founding members turned Broadway star Teresa Stanley; the theme of the event is “From WBTT to Broadway: Teresa Stanley’s Journey.”
Guests will enjoy a delicious dinner and open bar, and Stanley, the Troupe and WBTT’s live band will perform. Co-chairs for the event are Tomeika Koski and Teresa Simmons.
“The annual April Fools’ Fete is always a wonderful way to get our supporters and new friends together for fun, high-energy entertainment,” said WBTT executive director Julie Leach. “This year’s event also offers the opportunity to spotlight WBTT’s core mission to mentor, train and provide professional experience for up-and-coming artists. Our founder, Nate Jacobs, discovered and began training Teresa Stanley as a young girl, she appeared in numerous WBTT productions, and now she’s gone on to enjoy national and international performing opportunities. We’re thrilled and proud that Teresa is coming back to join us for our event.”
Teresa Stanley was discovered by Jacobs at the Westcoast School for Human Development, where she was a student and Jacobs a teacher. She appeared in her first major musical, Purlie, directed by Nate Jacobs, at the age of 13. Rave reviews inspired her to continue performing in a variety of the company’s musicals, including Ain’t Misbehavin, Eubie and Dreamgirls.
Pursuing her dreams outside of the community since her years with WBTT, Stanley has toured internationally with “The New York Harlem Singers” and nationally with “The Broadway Church Ladies.” In 2007 Stanley was cast in The Color Purple on Broadway, playing numerous roles. Later, she performed in the first national tour of Rock of Ages and was brought back to Broadway by the show’s producers to assume the principle role of “Justice/Mother.” With the close of the long-running Broadway show, Stanley was pleased to return home to appear in WBTT’s original and completely sold-out production of “Jazz Hot Mamas” last season.
Stanley has been performing as a background singer for American Idol season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino. She also recently traveled on an Asian tour with the New York Harlem Singers. She hopes to return to Broadway someday soon.
Tickets are $100/person; sponsorships are available. Call WBTT’s development office at (941) 366-1505, ext. 106 for tickets or further information.
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. The mission is to produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.