Sarasota's WBTT stages story of a life in jazz

The one-woman show is loosely based on the life of jazz great Nina Simone

June 5, 2014 

Apphia Campbell stars in "Black Is The Color Of My Voice." PUBLICITY PHOTO

Sarasota's Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is offering a couple of shows over the summer, both rooted in music.

The first is "Black Is the Color of My Voice." It's a one-woman show written by and starring Apphia Campbell, a founding member of WBTT who has gone on to perform all over the world. It opens Tuesday and runs for two weeks.

It's a fictional story about a jazz singer named Mena Bordeaux (based loosely on Nina Simone, in case that wasn't obvious from the name) who reflects about her life, her music and her career.

Campbell presents Bordeaux as an artist who's seeking redemption after the death of her father. During a three-day period of isolation without cigarettes, alcohol and access to the outside world, she reflects on the journey that took her from a young piano prodigy preparing for a life in the church to a renowned jazz vocalist at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.

Campbell premiered "Black Is The Color Of My Voice" at Play the Spotlight Theatre in Shanghai. She's reprised the show a couple of times in China, and last summer she brought it to New York.

Next month, WBTT concludes its summer mini-season with "Marvin Gaye" Price of Soul," which was a hit for the theater three years ago.

Details: June 10-22, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Show times: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $29.50. Information: 941-366-1505,

-- Marty Clear

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