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Arts and Entertainment Monday, Jun. 8, 2015 5 years ago

Nate Jacobs to receive producing award at National Black Theatre Festival

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The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe founder will receive the Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award in August
by: Nick Reichert Arts & Entertainment Editor

Nate Jacobs, founder and artistic director of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, has been entertaining Sarasota audiences as an actor, director and producer for more than two decades. This past season Jacobs and his troupe celebrated their 15th anniversary and included celebrated productions of "Little Shop of Horrors," "Black Nativity," "Knock Me a Kiss," "Jazz Hot Mamas" and "Spunk." And now before the beginning of the company's upcoming season (opening with the musical adaptation of "The Color Purple"), Jacobs and his company will be honored by the National Black Theatre Festival. 

Jacobs will receive the Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award at the biennial National Black Theatre Festival (August 3 through 8) in Winston-Salem, NC. The festival honors the past and current contributions of Black theater artists throughout America and the world with approximately 100 companies attending. Named after the festival's founder, the award honors Jacobs for his outstanding contribution to Black theater and the American theater during the festival's opening night gala. In addition, the troupe was selected to perform during the festival and Jacobs and the company will perform their production of "Soul Crooners 2" at the festival on August 7 and 8. 

WBTT has been invited to perform at this year's festival and will present their production of "Soul Crooners 2" at the festival.

"This will be a particularly special National Black Theatre Festival experience for me," said Jacobs in a prepared statement. "To receive an award named after Larry Leon Hamlin – whose profound contributions to black theater have helped to pave the way for so many African American artists and unite the Black professional theatre industry – is something that I'll treasure for the rest of my life. I was honored to call Larry a friend and am thrilled to be recognized, in such an esteemed setting, in his name."

Though they're in between seasons, Jacobs and the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe are not resting on their theatrical laurels. WBTT will revive one of their earliest original productions from 2000: "The Cotton Club Cabaret." Running from July 8 through August 9 this spirited musical review will feature songs from Harlem Renaissance era entertainers including Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and Lena Horne. 

Nick Reichert writes about Sarasota fine arts, including theater, dance, opera, music and visual art. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2013. Follow @TheNickReichert on Twitter for regular updates.

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