Most people associate Motown with the label's huge hits and massive social impact in the 1960s and early 1970s, but the Motown sound has never lost its appeal. Just a couple of years ago,"Motown: The Musical" was a huge hit on Broadway, thanks in large measure to its more than 50 Motown songs.
Partly because of the popularity of that musical, Nate Jacobs of Sarasota's Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has created a new Christmas show. "A Motown Christmas" gets its world premiere on Saturday.
The revue features some favorite traditional songs as well as many original Christmas songs written or recorded by Motown artists such as the Supremes, the Temptations, the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye.
Jacobs, who is the artistic director of WBTT, directs the production and performs in it. Other cast members include Michael Mendez, Mandi Jo John, Sheldon Rhoden, Christopher Eisenberg, Leon S. Pitts II, MaRah Williams, Ariel Blue and Marta McKinnon, and dancers Josh Thompson and Derric Gobourne Jr.
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Several of the cast members also appeared in WBTT's production last year of Langston Hughes' "Black Nativity." Jacobs said he hopes that in future years, WBTT will offer a version of "A Motown Christmas" alternating with "Black Nativity."
Most of the shows are sold out, so if you want to see it, you'd better act quickly.
Details: Dec. 5-31, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Show times: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. No 2 p.m. show Dec. 5. Tickets: $42 general, $32.50 students and active military. Information: 941-366-1505, westcoastblacktheatre.org.
-- Marty Clear