SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to present the tenth year of its annual Young Artist Program, through which Troupe members can showcase their talents with self-produced, one-person shows. WBTT’s first Young Artist Program showcase of the 2022-2023 season will feature frequent WBTT performer Brentney J., as she presents “Memoirs of a Peach” on April 23, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Brentney J. Stephens (stage name Brentney J.) is a native of Metro-Atlanta. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Bethune-Cookman University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from Georgia State University. Although she was a “late bloomer” with her dance training, starting at the age of 14, for the past 18 years she has been blessed with a community of dancers, choreographers, and industry mentors who have invested resources in her.
Brentney J. began working with WBTT in 2016, making her debut in “Black Nativity.” Since then, she has been seen in productions including “In the Heights,” “Amen Corner,” “Raisin,” “Broadway In Black” and “Guys and Dolls.” She has been a part of WBTT’s education touring company, “Jazzlinks,” for five years. She recently performed an aerial act on lyra during WBTT’s fall fundraising gala.
Some of Brentney J.’s dance accomplishments include: HBO’s “Bessie,” the biopic of Bessie Smith; “Bolden,” the biopic of Billy Bolden; “Real Housewives of Atlanta”; “Atlanta Plastic”; BET’s “Sunday’s Best”; “Ain’t Misbehavin”; and “Chicago the Musical.” Her value in community has led her to create a nonprofit performing arts education company, called M.A.D. Music Acting Dance, Inc., which she runs with her fiancé and WBTT favorite Brian L. Boyd.
Her Young Artist Program showcase, “Memoirs of a Peach,” is a creative collaboration of community networking, performing arts training, dance, and choreography. Patrons will be met in the lobby with vendors of Black-owned businesses in the Sarasota-Manatee area in hopes of building community support for a strong network of artists, consumers and businesses.
Through her dance/choreography showcase, the audience will learn more about Brentney J. as a creative, an intellectual, and person. WBTT favorites such as Brian L. Boyd, Ariel Blue, Derric Gobourne Jr., and Leon S. Pitts II will also be featured as well as special guest dancers from Platinum Superstar Dance Factory, based out of Palmetto, Fla. – Brentney J. has been training these dancers through M.A.D. for the past year.
The second Young Artist Program showcase of the year will feature Raleigh Mosely II – who recently wowed WBTT audiences portraying Jimmy “Thunder” Early in the sold-out run of “Dreamgirls” – as he presents “titanium: a soul experience” at 7:30 p.m. on May 21-22, 2023.
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 Brentney J.,” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs, who assists the performers in developing and directing their presentations. “In the years she has been involved with WBTT, Brentney has distinguished herself as a multi-talented artist who works incredibly hard, is determined to make it in the entertainment industry, and – like me – has aspirations of helping other young artists of color to achieve their dreams as well.”
Since its inception, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has mentored and inspired many young artists through their participation in the company’s productions and, more recently, Stage of Discovery and other youth training 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) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission; sponsor tickets, which include reserved preferred seating and playbill recognition, are $100 (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 for more information.