Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Will Host 2023-2024 Young Artist Program Showcase, Featuring Delores McKenzie

Performances are on March 17 and 18, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.

By: Feb. 27, 2024
 Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Will Host 2023-2024 Young Artist Program Showcase, Featuring Delores McKenzie
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 Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will present 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 first Young Artist Program showcase of the 2023-2024 season will feature frequent WBTT performer Delores McKenzie as she presents two performances of “Belles of Broadway” on March 17 and 18, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.

Local audiences have seen McKenzie in WBTT productions “Sistas in the Name of Soul,” “Eubie!” “Broadway in Black” and “Joyful! Joyful!”

The "little lady with the big voice," Delores Elizabeth McKenzie is a singer, actress, and voiceover artist who was born and raised in Sarasota and is a child prodigy who benefited from early training by Nate Jacobs. A graduate of Bethune Cookman University, she has traveled all over the world on top-tier cruise lines: she was a principal production singer for Norwegian Cruise Lines for seven years. She was recently chosen to be the voice of Royer Studios Anti-Tobacco and Vaping campaign against teen tobacco use. Now she’s bringing her talents back home. 

During this intimate evening, McKenzie will pay tribute to some of the iconic women of Broadway. Patrons will hear hits from “Wicked,” “Chicago,” “Hamilton,” “Waitress the Musical,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Les Misérables,” and many more. 

McKenzie will be accompanied by John Bronston, a 2023 AUDELCO Award nominee for Outstanding Musical Director, and a live band. There will also be a special guest appearance from a WBTT fan favorite.

Upcoming Young Artist Program showcases of the year will feature Ariel Blue, who will present a show titled “On Love’s Boulevard” on April 21-22, and 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.

“From a very young age, you could see that Delores had raw talent and drive, and would be going places as an artist,” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs, who assists the performers in developing and directing their presentations. “Audiences at WBTT have enjoyed her performances and we are confident she will properly honor the Broadway legends whose songs she’ll be featuring during ‘Belles of Broadway.’”

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. The performance on March 18 is already sold out; plenty of good seats are still available for Sunday, March 17. Tickets are $27 general admission; sponsor tickets, which include reserved preferred seating and playbill recognition, are $102 (prices include ticket fees). Call the Box Office at 941-366-1505 or purchase tickets online at westcoastblacktheatre.org.