Top supporters were the first to hear about the new season and theater renovations at the Hush! Hush! Party & Season Announcement Feb. 11.
Change is in the air at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe.
The theater company announced its 20th anniversary 2019-2020 season Feb. 11 at its annual Hush! Hush! Party & Season Announcement, along with updates on upcoming theater renovations.
WBTT’s Heart & Soul Campaign is the $8 million fundraising effort that funded the company’s Education & Outreach Building, but it will also fund a completely new theater with larger restrooms, a larger lobby, 200 permanent (as opposed to the movable chairs now in place) theater seats and much more.
Surrounded by the organization’s top supporters at the Feb. 11 event, Executive Director Julie Leach announced the campaign has raised $6.9 million to date, and construction on the new theater will begin May 1. The theater is scheduled to be completed sometime in December, and the company’s mainstage season will begin in the new space Jan. 8, 2020 and run through July 12, 2020 rather than its usual season of October through April.
Also due to construction, the company will have a limited run of its holiday show, “A Motown Christmas,” in December at the Sarasota Opera House.
“We are celebrating women in this season — women who face up to challenging circumstances, break through barriers, and do so much to ‘carry’ families, society and cultures in all the meanings of that word,” Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs said in a WBTT release. “Audiences will meet and be moved by memorable characters this season.”
Jacobs went on to say he’s particularly looking forward to debut the show “Ruby,” which he wrote with his brother, Michael.
The 2019-2020 WBTT Lineup:
“A Motown Christmas”
Dec. 4-6 and 18-20 at the Sarasota Opera House
Back by popular demand, WBTT will again stage the holiday show that was created, adapted and directed by Jacobs. Enjoy a revue blending Christmas carols and soulful songs made famous by Motown icons such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. This show is not included in the subscription series.
“Caroline, or Change”
Jan. 8-Feb. 16, 2020
This Broadway musical set in 1963 rural Louisiana follows an African-American maid and her employers during a time of turbulent change in America. Jim Weaver will direct this deeply personal story by Tony/Pulitzer/Academy Award-winning writer Tony Kushner that’s told through a blend of blues, gospel and traditional Jewish klezmer music.
“Your Arms Too Short to Box with God”
Feb. 26–April 5, 2020
Vinnette Carroll (the first African-American woman to direct a show on Broadway)’s production based on the Book of Matthew tells the story of Jesus, his apostles and the women who largely made his work possible. Experience the trials and tribulations Jesus faced in this show about love, betrayal and redemption — all told through gospel music and directed by Harry Bryce.
April 15 – May 24, 2020
This world-premiere musical details the powerful narrative surrounding a 1952 Florida murder of a white doctor by a black woman — a crime so shocking, it entices Zora Neale Hurston to come and cover the story for a northern newspaper. Written by Nate and Michael Jacobs and directed by Nate, this musical parallels themes of the modern #MeToo movement.
June 3 – July 12, 2020
Pearl Cleage’s tale of a group of African-American women leaving the South for the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas is a story about change, hope, determination and tough decisions that can change one’s life in an instant. Resident director Chuck Smith returns to direct this show that shares a chapter of American history that few people read.
Current subscribers can renew their subscriptions by mail beginning June 3. Individual ticket sales and subscriptions for new subscribers go on sale Aug. 1.For more information, call the box office at 366-1505 or click here.