SARASOTA, FL – Currently, there are two sold-out productions of “A Motown Christmas” taking place in the U.S. Here at home, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe – whose founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs created and adapted the show – has a sold-out run at its 10th Way location in Sarasota. Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, Tex., the Jubilee Theatre is also performing the show to capacity audiences through December 24th.
The Jubilee Theatre licensed the show, which enjoyed its world premiere in Sarasota in 2015, at the suggestion of WBTT founding member Teresa Stanley. The Jubilee Theatre presents various holiday offerings each year: past shows have included “The Gifts of the Magi” and original productions such as “Do You Hear What I Hear” and “Auntie Explains Christmas.” As representatives built the theater’s 2017-2018 season, they continued to consider Stanley’s recommendation and eventually reached out to WBTT to inquire about acquiring the rights to the show.
This is the first WBTT original to be licensed by another professional theater. Jacobs has penned numerous original shows and hopes that this will become a new and regular source of revenue for the organization.
“A Motown Christmas” came about because Jacobs was seeking to do something different for the holiday show in 2015. The Troupe had traditionally performed “Black Nativity,” written by Langston Hughes – as many African-American theaters throughout the world do – and he felt it was time for a change. He created “A Motown Christmas” to be a Christmas card to the community that supports WBTT all year long while honoring the legacy of Motown Records, which enabled African-American artists to break down barriers and enjoy mainstream success.
“I am proud that original content created right here in Sarasota is being validated and enjoyed by audiences halfway across the country,” said Jacobs. “WBTT has become known for the quality and raw energy of our musical revues – their popularity is part of what makes us unique. What a privilege and an honor that other communities are now enjoying them, too.”
Jubilee Theatre marketing director Jiles King reports that the show was sold out by the time previews opened to the public. The theater is thrilled with the decision they made to bring “A Motown Christmas” to Fort Worth.
“The name alone has huge marquee value – Motown is synonymous with great music,” said King. “Pair that with the holidays and a great script, and you have a match made in theater heaven.”
WBTT’s run of the show ends on December 23 and has been sold out since late November. However, stand-by tickets are sometimes available in advance or on the night of a show. To learn more, go to westcoastblacktheatre.org or call the Box Office at (941) 366-1505, ext. 105.
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 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. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.