NOTES ON THE ARTS
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe closes its 2016-17 season with “Dearly Departed,” running now through May 27. In this delightful and heartwarming comedy written by David Dean Bottrell and Jessie Jones, the dysfunctional Turpins gather in their rural Southern home for the patriarch’s funeral.
This 1991 work, set somewhere “south of the Mason-Dixon Line,” has an eccentric cast of characters ranging from a none-too-grieving widow and a fire-breathing, Bible-toting sister to a trio of sons — one hard-drinking, one in prison, one facing financial ruin — and a junk-food-devouring spinster named Delightful. While the play originally centered on a white family, the 2001 movie (based on the play “Kingdom Come”) starred African-American performers.
Performances are 8 p.m. Tuesday- Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday, at the WBTT theater, 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets are $39.50 for adults, $22 for students and active military with valid ID. Call the box office at 366-1505 or visit www.westcoastblacktheatre.org.
Sketch comedy group Millennial Fresh returns for two performances on April 23 and May 1 in Sarasota. Featuring some Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe artists and directed by the company manager, the group was formed in December 2015 by Joey James and Natasha Samreny. They wanted to create a comedic voice in the area with people their own age. They started writing, auditioning and, soon, Millennial Fresh was born.
The 90-minute revue presents original comedic scenes on marriage, Skyping with extended family, unwanted visitors, advice from elders, astrology, Florida drivers, pregnancy and sexuality.
Company members are Joey James (director), Ariel Blue, Earley Dean, Satchel Dennis, Naquila Gregory, Kathryn Parks, Natasha Samreny, and Matthew Walker. This diverse group works to create together, developing material from a mix of cultural, gender-preference and age-influenced perspectives.
Shows take place at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 23, and Monday, May 1, at the Westcoast Black Theatre, 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for students (with valid ID). Call the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe box office at 366-1505 or visit www.westcoastblacktheatre.org.
Lemon Bay presents Neil Simon dramedy
Lemon Bay Playhouse, 96 W. Dearborn St., Englewood, will present “I Ought to Be in Pictures” by Neil Simon, which will run from April 26 through May 14.
This play tells a touching story of Herb, a Hollywood screenwriter currently between gigs and suffering from writer’s block, who is surprised when his past reappears in the form of Libby, his estranged young daughter from Brooklyn. She has made the trek cross country with dreams of movie stardom. With encouragement from Steffy, his once-aweek girlfriend at his side, Herb decides to take another stab at fatherhood and hopefully — this time — get it right.
Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Information and tickets are available online at www.lemonbayplayhouse.com or by visiting or calling the Box Office at 475-6756. Reserved seat tickets are $18; student tickets (with proper ID) are $12.
Asolo Rep has premiere of “beatnik” musical
Dig this: Asolo Rep will present the world premiere of “Beatsville: The Beatnik Musical,” a co-production with Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, which will run May 6-28, with previews beginning April 28. “Beatsville” has a book by Glenn Slater, who has won Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy awards (all for Disney’s “Tangled”), an Emmy Award (ABC’s “Galavant”), and is a three-time Tony Award nominee (“School of Rock,” “Sister Act” and “The Little Mermaid”). Set in Greenwich Village in 1959, “Beatsville” features music and lyrics by Wendy Wilf.
Hang onto your berets — we’re headed to Beatsville — the world of subterranean coffee shops, goateed artists, turtle-necked poets and bongo-playing jazzbos. Tragically square busboy Walter Paisley wants nothing more than to be one of the beatniks, but he has no artistic talent whatsoever. When he accidentally kills a cat and hides it in a lump of clay, “Dead Cat” is declared a masterpiece, and Walter a genius. More “sculptures” bring more acclaim — but will the world discover Walter’s secret?
Tickets for “Beatsville” are on sale now and start at $26.
To purchase tickets, visit the box office in the Florida State University for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, or call 351-8000 or 800- 361-8388, or visit www.asolorep.org. ¦