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Performing Art
Mickeyy Mendez, Emmanuel Avraham, Leon S. Pitts II, Nate Jacobs, Sheldon Roden, Charles Manning and Porter Anderson
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2011 6 years ago

Scene & Heard

by: Loren Mayo and Molly Schechter

+ ‘Soul Crooners’ means some audience swooners
The stars of the ’70s are present and accounted for in “The Soul Crooners,” the first of two summer productions of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. The cast energetically channels Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Al Green and others, and famous groups including The Temptations and the Jackson 5. Soul music, it seems, knows no generation; audience members of all ages tap feet and clap hands from beginning to end. The name above the title here is WBTT founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs, who conceived, adapted and choreographed the show and designed the costumes, as well as performed. James E. Dodge II is music director and production manager; Shane Streight is technical director; and Michael Pasquini lighting designer. The show runs through July 24, at the WBTT Theatre on Orange Avenue at 10th Way. For tickets, visit or call 366-1505.

+ Sarasota Opera names its new director of production
The Sarasota Opera Association announced Christopher Van Alstyne has been appointed its new director of production. From 2006 to 2009, Van Alstyne served as the production manager with the Baltimore Opera Company, for which he oversaw the production and technical departments with an annual operating budget of $3.2 million.

In his new position with the Sarasota Opera, Van Alstyne will oversee an annual departmental operating budget of $4.1 million, which includes stage operations, production stage management, technical administration, scene construction, costume shop and wig and makeup departments. He will also be responsible for the company’s set-rental program.

“I have spent more than 25 years in the support of the arts, working all over the world, but have not been as enthusiastic about any other position, organization or location,” Van Alstyne said. “It just feels like a perfect fit. I am thankful to Susan Danis and Maestro (Victor) DeRenzi for offering me this opportunity and ... ‘On with the show!’”

+ Share and share alike …
Audience members at Florida Studio Theatre’s Summer Play Festival this season may spot familiar faces in different places, because several Asolo Conservatory students and a member of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will be appearing on the FST stage. It’s yet another example of collaboration and sharing among local arts organizations — and great training for the students.

‘An Evening of Lindberg’: For one night only, The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre is hosting a fundraising event called “An Evening of Lindberg.” Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, with the show at 8 p.m. Act One stars Jenny Aldrich as Anne Morrow Lindberg, who will share the joy of flying with her husband, Charles, and the flight to the Orient. Act Two finds Steve Carroll playing Charles Lindberg and his flight across the Atlantic and his son’s kidnapping. The theater is asking for a donation of $45. Call 366-5454 or visit

‘Our Son’s Wedding’: Currently showing at Florida Studio Theatre’s Gompertz Theatre, “Our Son’s Wedding” runs through Sunday, Aug. 7. The show features husband-and-wife duo actors Marina Re and Paul D’Amato, who have recreated the roles of Mary and Angelo Lo Presto for the show. The two last appeared on stage — in the same roles — during the Lake George Dinner Theatre production of “Our Son’s Wedding.”

Tickets cost $29 to $34. Call 366-9000 or visit


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