SARASOTA, FL – As Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is poised to present its 22nd anniversary 2021-2022 season, the popular arts organization is continuing to be cautious in its approach to operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. With subscription and individual tickets for the entire season still on hold, WBTT has released tickets only to its 2021-2022 season opener, “Eubie!” The show runs October 6 – November 21, 2021.
The toe-tapping musical revue features songs by Eubie Blake, the legendary composer, ragtime pianist, and “father of Black Broadway.” The show stormed Broadway in the 1970s – conceived and originally directed by Julianne Boyd – and was nominated for three Tony Awards. Blake’s infectious style is evoked in over 20 memorable songs, including the classic “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” “Memories of You” and “Daddy.” With its sizzling score and energetic dance numbers, “Eubie!” is a crowd-pleasing salute to a Broadway pioneer. It was also the very first show staged by WBTT in its first full season in 2002-2003.
“With all of the challenges of the past 18 months, we couldn’t think of a better way to open the season than with this show, which audiences raved about when we performed it back in 2002,” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. “Eubie Blake was responsible for the first all-Black-produced, written and cast show on Broadway, which opened doors for countless artists of color on the ‘Great White Way.’ We hope the community will come out and celebrate the return of live theatre at WBTT with ‘Eubie!'”
Jim Weaver – who has directed previous WBTT productions including “In the Heights,” “Caroline, or Change,” “Raisin,” “Fences” and “Purlie,” and who began his tenure as WBTT’s new education director/artistic associate in August – will direct. The production will feature several artists who are familiar to WBTT audiences, including Syreeta S. Banks, Jai Shanae, Brian L. Boyd and Brentney J as well as a number of performers new to WBTT’s stage. Music director is Brennan Stylez.
“While we would love to release tickets for all of our shows at the same time as well as season subscriptions, as we usually do, due to the ever-changing situation with COVID-19 we are proceeding with caution as we return to indoor shows,” said Executive Director Julie Leach. “As our season progresses, we will continue to monitor local COVID-19 trends and keep the community posted about the release of tickets for the remainder of our season.”
Future shows include holiday offering “Joyful! Joyful!” (December 1-30), world-premiere original musical “Ruby” (January 12-February 27), musical revue “Broadway in Black” (March 10-April 24), and two world-premiere one-act plays presented under the auspices of WBTT’s New Playwrights Series, “From Birmingham to Broadway” and “Float Like a Butterfly” (May 4-29).
In accordance with CDC guidelines, masks will be required for all patrons. Additionally, WBTT has numerous other measures in place, including deep cleaning and other COVID-19 protocols to help ensure the safety of its patrons, performers and staff while complying with current Florida law. Visit WBTT’s website and click on “COVID-19 Safety” for more.
Tickets are $45/adults (plus ticket fees), $20/students and active military. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit westcoastblacktheatre.org or call the Box Office at 941-366-1505.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
The mission of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates African American history and experience, engages a broad base of patrons and audiences, supports the development of a dynamic group of aspiring artists, and builds self-esteem in youth of color. For more information, visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.