Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe invited again to National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina

Sarasota group to make its third appearance at that event

(From left) The cast of How I Got Over: A Gospel Musical offers a high-energy performance. Contributed photo by Don Daly Photo

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) has been recognized with its third invitation to perform during the National Black Theatre Festival, which takes place every other year in Winston-Salem, N.C., the troupe has announced.

WBTT will perform How I Got Over: A Gospel Musical, a show that WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs created and adapted, a news release says. During the summer of 2016, the troupe debuted the show as How I Got Over: A Tribute to Mahalia Jackson.

With its upcoming festival appearance, the “Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe aims to raise the rafters in celebration of Mahalia Jackson and other gospel greats,” the release continues. It will combine traditional and more current songs in its performance, the release notes. Among them will be Travelin’ Shoes, Amazing Grace, When The Saints Go Marching In, Elijah Rock, Oh Happy Day and His Eye Is On The Sparrow.

“We could not be more thrilled to be invited back to the National Black Theatre Festival and to bring our third original production,” said Jacobs in the release. “In 2013, all four performances of Soul Crooners were sold out. In 2015, we performed four shows of Soul Crooners 2 in a larger auditorium and, again, all were sold out. This year we get five performances in a 600-seat venue and our goal is to show the whole world what our theater can do — we aim to do Sarasota very proud!”

The National Black Theatre Festival is the international outreach program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Co., which was founded in 1979, the release explains. Held biennially since 1989, the festival attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theater professionals and scholars, the release adds.

This year’s event is scheduled from July 31 to Aug. 5. Approximately 35 companies have been invited to perform, the release notes. For more information and tickets, go to nbtf.org.