SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to present the ninth year of its annual Young Artist Program, through which Troupe members are able to showcase their talents with self-produced, one-person shows. WBTT’s first Young Artist showcase of the 2021-2022 season features singer/dancer/actor Derric Gobourne Jr. in a presentation titled “SH!NE.” The showcase will take place Monday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m.
In this performance, Gobourne and the New Jack Nation will take the audience on a funk-tastic evening through Starchild’s National Museum of Funk. Museum guide Starlove will guide the audience through the history of funk’s greatest song and dance men like James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince and more. They will also get a look into Gobourne’s personal and musical life as he celebrates the release of his album of the same name, “SH!NE.”
Guest artists will include singers Ariel Blue and Amber Myers; dancers Terrell Alexander, Dale Hill, Amaris Holliman and Marisol Rosas; and special guests Tazia, Sidney, Gaea Labelle, the SH!NE Children’s Choir, and WBTT choreographer/artist Donald Frison. Gobourne produced the music tracks for the show and plays most of the instruments; Fancy Karema will play drums.
Gobourne, who most recently performed at WBTT in “Broadway in Black,” made his debut appearance with WBTT as the talented Little Stevie Wonder in “Best of Stevie Wonder” in the summer of 2013. Since then, he has appeared in WBTT’s productions of “Joyful! Joyful!,” “Your Arms Too Short to Box with God,” “Black Nativity,” “Raisin,” “A Motown Christmas,” “In the Heights,” “Soul Man” and “Rockin’ Down Fairytale Lane,” among others. In 2019, he appeared in WBTT’s production of “Soul Man” at the National Black Theatre Festival. A graduate of Manatee High School and a self-taught musician, Gobourne released his debut album, “Supremacy,” in June of 2018; it was re-released in Japan under the P-Vine Record Label. In 2020, he released a holiday album, “Oh, What Fun!” In March of 2020, he presented two sold-out shows for his first WBTT Young Artist program, titled “The Greatest Entertainer.”
WBTT’s Young Artist Program, part of its education programming, was created to support, develop and showcase the talents of young, aspiring artists of color. The Young Artist Program offers company members the opportunity to develop and present an original production. All proceeds from the show are given to the presenting artist to be used to further their artistic and professional development.
“My main purpose, my calling, in founding WBTT was to mentor and help develop the creative talents of aspiring artists like Derric,” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs, who assists the performers in developing and directing their presentations. “In the years he has been involved with WBTT, Derric has distinguished himself as a multi-talented artist who works incredibly hard and is determined to make it in the entertainment industry.”
Since its inception, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has mentored and inspired many African American youth through their participation in the company’s productions and, more recently, Stage of Discovery and other youth opportunities. Many of the aspiring professional artists trained in the organization’s performing arts program have gone on to work with regional and national companies and even achieved major-label success.
Young Artist Program showcases take place in The Donelly Theatre at WBTT (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota). Tickets are $27 general admission; sponsor tickets, which include reserved preferred seating and playbill recognition, are $102 (prices include ticket fees). Call the Box Office at 941-366-1505 or purchase tickets online at westcoastblacktheatre.org.
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. Visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.