Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Announces 25th Anniversary Season

The season will feature Soul Crooners Solid Gold Edition, Fences, Five Guys Named Moe and Syncopated Avenue, plus the holiday show A Motown Christmas.

By Staff February 19, 2024

WBTT leaders, from left to right, Jim Weaver, Debra Flynt-Garrett, Doris Johnson, Julie Leach and Nate Jacobs during the 2024-2025 season announcement.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s 25th season will be a celebration of “25 Years of Black Heritage,” during which WBTT will offer fan favorites as well as a brand-new world premiere show.

Running from October 9, 2024 through May 25, 2025, the regular season shows are Soul Crooners Solid Gold EditionFences, Five Guys Named Moe and Syncopated Avenue. The holiday show, which is not part of the season subscription, is A Motown Christmas.

“For our 25th anniversary season, we have adopted the theme '25 Years of Black Heritage,’” says WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs. “As the only African American theater on Florida’s west coast, we are proud to offer a unique and special cultural experience to our community. With the shows selected for the coming season, we hope to provide an exciting, entertaining and thought-provoking theater experience.”

Opening the season is Soul Crooners Solid Gold Edition, Created, adapted and directed by Jacobs. The Soul Crooners productions have been pivotal in WBTT's success: Soul Crooners premiered on a rental stage at the Sarasota Arts Center in 2009, has twice sold out multi-performance runs at the National Black Theatre Festival, and got a sold-out crowd on their feet during the “Soul Party” at Ed Smith Stadium in 2019. Soul Crooners Solid Gold Edition is a celebration of the music that ushered in a new era of soul during the 1970s and has not been featured on the WBTT mainstage since its debut in 2009. It will run Oct. 9-Nov. 17, 2024.

A Motown Christmas at WBTT

A Motown Christmas at WBTT

During the holiday season, WBTT will present its Christmas card to the community, the exuberant musical revue A Motown Christmas, also created, adapted and directed by Nate Jacobs. Presented previously in 2015, 2017 and 2019, the show features some favorite traditional carols as well as many original Christmas songs written and recorded by Motown's most celebrated artists, such as The Jackson 5, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. A Motown Christmas is not part of the season subscription; it will run Nov. 27, 2024-Jan. 5, 2025.

The season’s dramatic offering is Fences, written by renowned American playwright August Wilson. Wilson had a massive impact on Broadway with this play, which tells the story of a Black garbage collector in pre-Civil Rights America. Deemed a "generational play," it mirrors the classic struggle of status quo, tradition and age versus change, innovation and youth and is one of the most significant African American plays of the 20th century. WBTT resident director Chuck Smith will return to Sarasota to direct the play, which runs from Jan. 15, 2025-Feb. 23, 2025.

Next up is Five Guys Named Moe, directed by Jim Weaver. An exuberant tribute to the music of rhythm and blues pioneer Louis Jordan, the show features lively dance numbers and an upbeat musical score. The hero, Nomax, is broke and his lovely girlfriend Lorraine has left him. As he listens to the radio at 5 a.m., five guys named Moe appear and encourage Nomax to turn his life around and tell Lorraine that he loves her. The show runs from March 5-April 6, 2025.

Closing the 2024-2025 season is a brand-new, world premiere musical called Syncopated Avenue. It's WBTT's first-ever tap revue, starring tap dancer Lamont Brown in a musical journey through the world of tap dance. The show will offer offers new songs as well as unique arrangements of popular jazz tunes by iconic composers such as Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake and Irving Berlin, as well as new songs arranged and created by Nate Jacobs, Lamont Brown and Louis Danows. Runs from April 16-May 25, 2025.

“This season has diverse offerings that should appeal to a wide variety of tastes: from musical revues to gripping drama, from R&B and soul hits to jazz classics, we feel there’s something for everyone to enjoy,” says WBTT executive director Julie Leach. “This will truly be a thrilling year for WBTT and we hope area arts patrons will feel the same!”

All performances take place in WBTT’s Donelly Theatre at 1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota. Subscriptions will go on sale in the spring and individual tickets will become available during the summer. Visit for more information.

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