The hits kept on coming as Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe partnered with the Baltimore Orioles to present the '70s Soul Party at Ed Smith Stadium May 18, 2019, for a sold-out, 3,100-strong crowd. The event, which featured WBTT's "All-Star" artists performing the chart-topping soul hits of the 1970s, was part of the Orioles' Arts in the Ballpark series.
Created and adapted by WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs, the '70s Soul Party featured WBTT's Soul Crooners and sizzling live band performing nearly two hours of music.
The Soul Crooners - Nate Jacobs, Charles Manning, Michael Mendez, Leon S. Pitts II, and Sheldon Rhoden - knocked '70s favorites out of the park, with selections including "Superstition", "Let's Get It On", "I Want You Back", "September", and many more. Earley Dean, another favorite of WBTT patrons, did the honors as master of ceremonies in the larger-than-life role of Cedric Soulchild. Derric Gobourne Jr. - known to theatre regulars for his amazing dance moves - stepped lively onstage, adding to the party atmosphere.
The singing and dancing were backed by musicians James E. "Jay" Dodge II, WBTT music director and bass player; Todd Bellamy on piano; Jamar Camp on auxiliary keys; Etienne "EJ" Porter on drums; and Willie "TFox" Thompson on guitar. Dodge and his virtuoso bass playing were featured in the crowd-pleasing number, "Play That Funky Music, White Boy".
The Orioles' irrepressible mascot, The Oriole Bird, mingled with Soul Party patrons and joined the Soul Crooners and band on stage, dancing to a rousing rendition of "Rockin' Robin".
Jacobs remarked from the stage that he felt the love of the crowd, as many in the audience rose from their seats to dance, clap, and sing along to the familiar tunes.
The concert concluded with a dazzling fireworks display as the Crooners performed "Love Train". Sponsors included Presenting Sponsor, the Baltimore Orioles; Arts in the Ballpark Sponsor, LECOM; Fireworks Sponsor, the Brunckhorst Family; and other generous businesses, foundations, and individuals who made this unforgettable event possible.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
The mission of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, a non-profit organization founded by Nate Jacobs in 1999, is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates the African-American experience, attracts diverse audiences, supports and develops African-American artists, and builds the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information, visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.