I have known Nate Jacobs for a number of years, and I have seen him working behind the scenes to produce some truly incredible productions through the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe. I have also seen him often season those productions with some extraordinary performances himself. Amidst his wide range of creative expression and unfaltering professionalism, Nate has also been conjuring a character that has grown along with him and is finally ready to take center stage.
While the rest of the cross dressing aficionados in Sarasota were at the opening night of the Harvey Milk Festival to watch a screening of "I Am Divine" at Burns Court Cinema, I was treated to the opening night of "Aunt Rudelle's Family Reunion" at WBTT. Similarly to front runners like Flip Wilson, and more recently Tyler Perry, Nate Jacobs has developed a character that is mesmerizing to watch, and as the only performer on the stage, Aunt Rudelle has no problem stealing the show. Unlike similar one man shows, Rudelle doesn't merely deliver a one-dimensional monologue, but interacts both with scenery and characters that exist only in Nate's mind, but magically become real to the audience through his near-seamless performance.
Although it is one of the shorter shows that I have seen at WBTT, "Aunt Rudelle's Family Reunion" is full of laughs, southern fried insight, and some great singing by Mr. Jacobs that will have you humming all the way home. So if you're not into celebrating the festivities surrounding Harvey Milk and equality for the LGBT community and beyond, go spend some time with Aunt Rudelle and her clan.