WBTT Delays Opening of World-Premiere Musical, ‘Ruby’

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Reverend Charles McKenzie performing excerpts from speeches and writings of Dr. King during a past WBTT celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Photo by Sorcha Augustine

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s world-premiere musical “Ruby,” which was originally scheduled for the 2019-2020 season but delayed due to COVID-19, has been pandemic-delayed once again. Due to positive COVID-19 tests among the production crew of WBTT’s holiday show, “Joyful! Joyful!” that show’s final three sold-out performances were canceled and rehearsals for “Ruby” were put on hold in order to follow CDC guidelines for quarantine and retesting. As of press time, performances of “Ruby” will now begin on January 26. In addition to delaying the opening of “Ruby,” WBTT has decided to cancel the planned January 17 live performance of its annual “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Celebrating His Legacy” program. Instead, WBTT will offer free streaming video from a previous celebration; the show will be available on its website (westcoastblacktheatre.org) from January 17-31.

“The positive COVID-19 tests in the final days of ‘Joyful! Joyful!’ were certainly disheartening, especially as we were seeing the return of sold-out shows,” says WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. “But we are determined to be flexible and ready for whatever comes, sticking to our #SafeArtsSarasota protocols and doing what we can to keep putting on shows. The theme of this season is ‘And Still We Rise’ and we are hopeful we will do just that in 2022.”

Pictured: Reverend Charles McKenzie performing excerpts from speeches and writings of Dr. King during a past WBTT celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Photo by Sorcha Augustine

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