For WBTT, the Show Must Go On(line)

Arts & Culture

SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY APR 8, 2020

For Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, the decision to go dark for the remainder of its 20th anniversary (2020-2021) season due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was particularly painful as it had just opened its newly-renovated theater building to patrons in January. In an effort to lift spirits as well as generate critically-needed revenue, WBTT is proud to launch its new live streaming platform, "WBTT Live!" with the musical, Vinnette Carroll’s "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God," the production that WBTT was forced to cancel in March, after just three weeks of its run.

WBTT LIVE! will offer videos of favorite performances, messages from favorite troupe members, and special events. The page can be accessed at westcoastblacktheatre.org/performances/wbtt-on-demand.The purchase of access to the live streaming site will help WBTT in this difficult time when its theater is closed, resulting in losses of roughly $50,000 per week. Per the terms of WBTT's agreements with Irving Street Rep, Inc. and Actors’ Equity Association, the organization has secured permission to stream "Your Arms Too Short" – which was just the second show to open in the newly-renovated Donelly Theatre in the beautiful new Gerri Aaron & the Aaron Family Foundation Theatre Building – through April 19, or until WBTT reaches 4,200 views.

WBTT is offering free access to view the show for patrons who had tickets to canceled performances of "Your Arms Too Short" and graciously donated back their ticket costs rather than requesting a refund.

"Going dark is simply not a natural state for WBTT – we are happiest when we are performing on our stage as well as at events and programs throughout the community and country," said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. "We are so grateful to this generous community, which has supported us over the past 20 years. We hope that everyone will enjoy this hand-clapping, foot-stomping inspirational Easter story, which is guaranteed to lift spirits, regardless of one's religious affiliation!"

"We were heartbroken to end our 20th Anniversary Season early; due to our theater renovations, shows were scheduled through mid-July," said WBTT's Executive Director Julie Leach. "The good news is that, during this difficult time when we all could use some hope and joy, technology enables us to spread a little happiness while offering an opportunity to generate some much-needed revenue for our organization. It seemed appropriate to us to launch this effort with a show that tells a story of renewal, redemption and – ultimately – triumph over tragedy."


The complete 75-minute performance was filmed in March by local videographer Bill Wagy. Tickets are $15 (including $2 processing fee).

Pictured: Cast members in WBTT's 'Your Arms Too Short to Box with God' include Derric Gobourne Jr. (front) and (back, l-r) Chakara Rosa, Joshua Thompson, Dasean Garrett and Annaya Osborn. Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

Link to purchase tickets to watch the performance video.

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