MARVIN GAYE: PRINCE OF SOUL Comes to Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

Performances run April 17 – May 26, 2024.

By: Apr. 05, 2024
MARVIN GAYE: PRINCE OF SOUL Comes to Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
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 For its 24th season, titled “Simply the Best!” Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Will Close the season than with its most-requested original musical, “Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul.” Sheldon Rhoden will reprise the title role for the fourth time; previous productions took place in 2011, 2014 and 2018.

The show – which was written, adapted and is being directed by WBTT Founder/Artistic Director Nate Jacobs – runs April 17 – May 26, 2024. Evening performances take place Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. in The Donelly Theatre of Westcoast Black Theatre (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota). 

A gifted, innovative, and enduring talent, Gaye blazed the trail for the continued evolution of popular Black music, from powerful R&B and sophisticated soul to an intensely political and personal form of artistic self-expression. This show covers the singing career of Marvin Gaye from the 1950s through his shocking death at the hands of his father in the mid-1980s. 

The story is set in Detroit, the birthplace of Motown music. Audience members will appreciate the depth of Gaye’s musical talent and learn about his personal backstory. Some of the hits audiences can look forward to hearing are “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “How Sweet It Is,” “Pride and Joy,” “What’s Going On,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Sexual Healing,” and “Let’s Get It On,” among many others. Jacobs also wrote two songs that are featured in the show.

The earliest version of this production was presented as “Marvin Gaye: The Man and His Music” in 2011. It was Rhoden’s first starring role in a professional production and it played to sold-out audiences. Patrons clamored for a return and got it with the 2014 run, which showcased a much more seasoned and confident Rhoden; the show was featured again in 2018.

“Sheldon never fails to do an incredible job in this role – the combination of his charisma and talent and Marvin Gaye’s music have made this show our most-requested, with highly successful runs,” said Jacobs. “This time around, we will feature a couple of new songs, new and exciting cast members, new costumes and set design, and fresh staging – return patrons will enjoy a more vibrant and polished show than previous productions. Some nights are already sold out – we encourage community members to reserve their seats now, before it’s too late!”

While several new artists will join WBTT for the show, audiences will see lots of favorites – some of whom appeared in the 2018 production – including: Ariel Blue, Brian L. Boyd, Jada Carson, Jazzmin Carson, Michael Kinsey, LaKesha Lorene, Delores McKenzie, Jonathan Isaac, Michael Mendez, Raleigh Mosely II, Amber Myers, Avery Lamar Pope, Jai Shanae, Terry Spann, and Emerald Rose Sullivan.

Music director is Matthew McKinnon, who also plays main keys. The rest of the band is: Jamar Camp, auxiliary keys; Jordan Henry, bass; Dan Haedicke, guitar; and Henley Connor III, drums.

The creative team includes: Production stage manager, Juanita Munford; production manager, Kevin White; choreography, Donald Frison; scenic designer, Roland Black; lighting designer, Michael Pasquini; costume designer, Darci Collins; sound designer, Patrick Russini; sound engineer, Alex Judd; projection designer, Austin Jacobs; and properties designer, Annette Breazeale.

Tickets are $50/adults, $20/students and active military (with valid ID). Call the Box Office at 941-366-1505 or visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.




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