Big Sexy Brings the Music of Fats Waller to Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Ariel Blue and Leon S. Pitts II star in WBTTs production of Big Sexy The Fats Waller Revue Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

Big Sexy: The Fats Waller Revue was in large part inspired by an artist that I’ve been working with since he was a child, Leon S. Pitts II, who's now an adult with his own family and has built a brand and a name for himself on our stage,” says Nate Jacobs, founder and artistic director of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT). “We were joking around one day and he said 'you should write a show for me and call it Big Sexy.' Flash forward to a few years later and I told him I was going to do it.”

Big Sexy: The Fats Waller Revue, is WBTT’S tribute to Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller, a legendary American jazz pianist, singer, composer, and entertainer. Waller, born in New York City in 1904, was one of the most prolific songwriters of his time, copyrighting over 400 songs before his death at age 39 in 1943. A true musical pioneer, Waller’s innovations in the Harlem stride style of piano laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano.

“The show is a revue of the maestro Fats Waller who was a very gifted musician and so incredibly unique in his time–which Leon Pitts is to our company, he’s just a really gifted artist and always has been. They are similar in that they both exude this kind of effervescent and contagious likeability, especially when on stage,” says Jacobs. “Big Sexy, however, is more than just a showcase of  Waller’s most popular tunes. In addition to his most well known songs, such as Ain’t Misbehavin’, Honeysuckle Rose, Your Feet’s Too Big, and The Joint is Jumpin, the show will feature some of Waller’s lesser known songs as well as delve into the history of the man behind the music.”

WBTT's Donelly Theatre (1012 N. Orange Ave., Box Office: 941-366-1505, April 19-May 28. 

Pictured: Ariel Blue and Leon S. Pitts II star in WBTTs production of Big Sexy The Fats Waller Revue Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

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