WBTT Will Host Second 2023-2024 Young Artist Program Showcase

There will be two performances of “On Love’s Boulevard” on April 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m.

By: Apr. 11, 2024
WBTT Will Host Second 2023-2024 Young Artist Program Showcase
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 Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is presenting the eleventh year of its annual Young Artist Program, through which Troupe members can showcase their talents with self-produced, one-person shows. WBTT’s second Young Artist Program showcase of the 2023-2024 season will feature Troupe member Ariel Blue as she presents two performances of “On Love’s Boulevard” on April 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m.

During Blue’s performances of “On Love’s Boulevard,” she will take center stage, joined by talented family members Hadara Porter and Henry Porter II, and The BlueLight Band, along with special guests. From soulful ballads to lively tunes, Blue and her ensemble will take audiences on a journey through the heart of music and love. Inspired by the warmth and love of a close-knit community, this show features a blend of soulful performances, heartfelt storytelling, and side-splitting comedy.

Blue – a graduate of Stetson University with a major in Communications and a minor in Theatre – is an actor, singer and writer who has performed as a featured vocalist in Connelli Circus in Switzerland. In September 2019, Ariel launched her website and blog, “The Blue Print,” which is a monthly, introspective blog that chronicles personal life lessons and features a themed music playlist. She was featured in The KNOW Women magazine in 2022. 

Blue has worked consistently with WBTT since her breakout role in “Ain’t Misbehavin’” in 2010. Local audiences have since seen Blue in numerous WBTT productions including “Big Sexy: The Fats Waller Revue,” “Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul,” “Flyin' West,” “Sistas in the Name of Soul,” “Love Sung in the Key of Aretha,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Dreamgirls,” “The Wiz,” “A Motown Christmas,” and “The Amen Corner.”

She performs with the Florida Studio Theatre Improv, has produced two of her own one-woman shows, has performed in several WBTT productions at The National Black Theatre Festival (“How I Got Over,” “Soul Man” and “Light Up the Night”), and sang behind legends like Christopher Williams. She was recently featured in "Motherless" in New York – where she was recognized with the Best Actress award at the New York Theatre Festival – and at WBTT.

Although Blue is an established professional, she is still new to producing her own shows, similar to Delores McKenzie and Tarra Conner Jones, who WBTT has supported through the Young Artist Program previously.
The third and final Young Artist Program showcase of the year will feature Charlie “CJ” Melton, who will present “I Sing Because I’m Happy; I Sing Because I’m Free” on May 19.

WBTT’s Young Artist Program, part of its education programming, was created to support, develop and showcase the talents of young, aspiring artists of color. The Young Artist Program offers company members the opportunity to develop and present an original production. All proceeds from the show are given to the presenting artist to be used to further their artistic and professional development.

“Ariel has become one of our most popular artists over the past decade not only because of her singing, dancing and acting – she has an abundance of charisma and her comedic talents never fail to bring the house down,” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs, who assists the performers in developing and directing their presentations. “She is also a role model for other artists due to her work ethic and positive attitude. We are excited for audiences to discover new things to love about Ariel during her upcoming performances of ‘On Love’s Boulevard!’”

Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many young artists through their participation in the company’s productions and, in more recent years, Stage of Discovery and other youth training opportunities. Many of the aspiring professional artists trained in the organization’s performing arts program have gone on to work with regional and national companies and even achieved major-label success. 

Young Artist Program showcases take place in The Donelly Theatre at WBTT (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27 general admission; sponsor tickets, which include reserved preferred seating and playbill recognition, are $100 (prices include ticket fees). Call the Box Office at 941-366-1505 or purchase tickets online at westcoastblacktheatre.org.


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