SARASOTA, FL – The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is launching a new program to enable young artists to gain experience and exposure for their original works through the “New Playwrights Series.” The debut performance of the series will be a blocked stage reading of “Real Life,” written and directed by WBTT artist Joel P. E. King. King aims to assure an “off book” performance that he believes will be more engaging and less distracting for the artists and the audience. Other WBTT artists will perform various roles in the reading.
Takes place on Saturday, June 4 at 2pm, at the Westcoast Black Theatre (1464 10th Way, Sarasota). The performance will be followed by snacks and a talk-back with King.
“Rent” meets “In the Heights” in the transformational story, “Real Life,” a two-act “hip hopera” that explores the attitudes of urban living. The main character, Ray, has a test of faith as he is forced to choose his morality over a sensationalized street nature that may lead to his demise. Identifying with the consequences and repercussions, the community intervenes to influence his choice, while struggling with the threats of crime and other dangers of their daily existence. Through the power of community, acts of faith and an enduring grandmother, Ray embraces redemption … but at what cost?
The music and lyrics were written, and the production directed, by Joel P. E. King, who has performed with WBTT in “Knock Me a Kiss,” “The Color Purple” and, most recently, “The Sam Cooke Story.” King was also a featured performer in this year’s “Jazzlinks” program, a partnership of WBTT and the Jazz Club of Sarasota that brought history lessons to life for all area 11th graders.
“The New Playwrights Series fits nicely into our mission of supporting and developing African-American artists,” said WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs. “This program offers emerging minority playwrights the opportunity to present their new, developing plays in a workshop setting. It will also give community members a view from the unique perspectives of these developing artists, and expose them to the issues that matter in their lives.
Tickets are $15 general admission, $100 VIP sponsor with limited preferred seating. Call the Box Office at (941) 366-1505 or go to westcoastblacktheatre.org.
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.