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A&E BRIEFS The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will perform Soul Crooners at the National Black Theatre Festival this summer. Contributed photo WBTT TO PERFORM AT NATIONAL BLACK THEATRE FESTIVAL The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has been invited to perform its original musical revue Soul Crooners at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) in Winston-Salem, NC, the troupe has announced. The biennial festival will be held this summer from July 29 to Aug. 3, a news release says. Soul Crooners will be performed four times, twice each on Aug. 2 and August 3, the release adds. This is the first time a WBTT production has been invited to perform, although Artistic Director Nate Jacobs has presented Aunt Rudele at the festival, "to great acclaim," the release points out. "What a great honor and opportunity this is for WBTT," Jacobs said in the release. "The NBTF is the most important gathering of Af- rican-American actors, directors, producers and others interested and involved in the entertainment industry. To have the opportunity to present one of our original works at NBTF is very exciting and we are thrilled to be a part of the programming." "The NBTF was founded in 1989 by Larry Leon Hamlin to unite black theater companies and ensure their survival," the release continues. Maya Angelou served as the festival's first chairwoman, the release adds. That inaugural year, the festival offered 30 performances by 17 companies and attracted national and international media. The New York Times called it "one of the most historic and culturally significant events in the history of black theater and American theater in general," the release notes. More than 10,000 people attended the performances, the release adds.

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