SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is thrilled to be back onstage – albeit with a limited cast and for the purpose of filming rather than presenting live – for the pandemic-delayed production of Dominique Morisseau’s noted work, “Pipeline.” WBTT is currently rehearsing the show, which it will film, present during one week of outdoor screenings at its Theatre Arts Center in late April, and then make available via streaming video in May.
“Pipeline” follows Nya, a dedicated inner-city public high school teacher, who is desperate to give her only son, Omari, opportunities her students will never have. When a controversial incident at his private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own fight to give her son a future — without turning her back on their community.
“It has been invigorating to be back rehearsing and working to present great art created by talented Black artists,” said Nate Jacobs, WBTT’s founder/artistic director. “This show is particularly relevant as America battles institutional racism and societal inequalities – we hope it will spark some thoughtful conversations in households throughout the community and beyond.”
Director is L. Peter Callender, who serves as the artistic director of African-American Shakespeare Company in San Francisco, Ca. and artistic associate at NY Classical Theatre, and is thrilled to be making his directing debut at WBTT. His extensive acting credits extend from Broadway (“Prelude to a Kiss”), to the San Francisco Bay Area, with many stops in between, including four years with Milwaukee Rep Acting Company, and performances at over 20 other regional theaters.
The cast includes: Renata Eastlick (Nya), Donovan Whitney (Omari), Emerald Rose Sullivan (Jasmine), Joel PE King (Xavier), Emilia Sargent (Laurie) and Isaac Esau Gay (Dun).
The video will be filmed and edited by Bill Wagy Productions.
For the outdoor screenings to a limited live audience, rigorous COVID-19 protocols will be in effect. There will be temperature checks at the gate and masks will be required at all times with no exceptions. No concessions will be sold and no food or drink will be allowed on-site, to ensure masks stay on for the duration of the evening.
“We were so pleased when we received Equity approval to rehearse and film this incredible show, which we had originally scheduled for an earlier slot this season,” said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. “The live screenings will offer patrons the opportunity to experience and enjoy theater together, and the streaming video makes it available to all, especially since we will be able to provide captions on the streaming version through a grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation. As the pandemic continues, we are determined to stay active and relevant, and offer valuable content to our community.”
Presenting sponsor is Benjamin Handelman in Memory of Judith G. Handelman. Leading sponsors are Shelley and Sy Goldblatt, Sidney and Mary Harris, and Howard Millman and Carolyn Michel.
Outdoor screenings will take place at WBTT’s Theatre Arts Center (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota) from April 24-30 at 8 p.m.; streaming video will be available from May 1-23. Tickets for the outdoor screenings of “Pipeline!” are $20 per person, with seating in socially distanced parties of one or two. Tickets for on-demand streaming of the video are $20 per household. Visit westcoastblacktheatre.org or call the Box Office at 941-366-1505.
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. Its mission is to produce professional theater 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, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call 941-366-1505.