West Coast Florida
Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul
Everything this company usually does wellcostumes, sets, performances and musical support (direction by James (Jay) E. Dodge, II)are all in place. The supporting cast, Ariel Blue and Nate Jacobs as Marvin's parents, Emmanuel Avraham, and Michael Mendez and introducing Sasha Lumsden, Emerald Rose and Janesia Shanae are all fine. The script, created by Nate Jacobs, is one of his best, clear and concise. But what raises this production to must-see status is a knockout performance as Marvin Gaye by Sheldon Roden, simply the best performance by a lead actor that I have seen this season. In the second act, when Gaye has found himself as a once in a lifetime singer, Mr. Roden is phenomenal.
At the performance I attended there were several ladies who simply could not contain themselves as they swayed and reacted to the music. It was a good thing that theater staff had warned them to fasten their seat belts; otherwise, they would have become part of the show. I am positive their wonderful energy fueled the performers. Simply put, Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul is one of the finest shows I have seen WBTT do.
Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul presented by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1646 10th Way, Sarasota, Florida, 366-1505. Through August 10, 2014. For more information, visit www.wbttsrq.org.
Cast: Emmanuel "E-Man" Avraham: Frankie Gay/The DC Tones
Musical Director/Bass: James (Jay) E. Dodge, II
Director: Nate Jacobs*