The theater season resumes at North Carolina Central University with “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope” as the opening production for 2013-14. It will be performed Oct. 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 6 and 13 at 2 p.m. at the University Theater in the Farrison-Newton Communications Building.
“Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope” is a musical revue with music and lyrics by Micki Grant. In 1972, it became the first Broadway musical to be directed by an African-American woman, Vinnette Carroll, in 1972. It was nominated for a Tony Award for best musical, and was the recipient of Grammy, Obie and Drama Desk awards.
The all-singing, all-dancing show focuses on the African-American experience, with songs on such topics as tenements, slumlords, ghetto life, student protests, black power and feminism. It flashes snapshots of the black power movement, with themes of racial pride, self-definition, self-determination, self-sufficiency and political awareness. Although historical in nature, the musical remains refreshing, relevant and authentic, with timeless stories verbalized through jazz, gospel, soul, and calypso.
The show was first staged at Ford's Theatre in Washington in 1971, with subsequent presentations in Philadelphia at the Locust and Walnut Street theaters before its Broadway opening. The Broadway production opened on April 19, 1972, at the Playhouse Theatre, where it ran for two months before moving to the Edison. It had a total run of 1,065 performances. The original Broadway cast included the playwright Grant, Alex Bradford, Hope Clarke and Arnold Wilkerson. Time Magazine theater critic T. E. Kalem praised it, writing, “This is the kind of show at which you want to blow kisses.”
NCCU’s production includes the talents of Ledehra Alston, Kenyatta Burris, Melanie Burwell, Miranda Davis, Christina Deloatch, Ashlynn Hailey, Daja Middleton, Desiree Sanders, Darriell Palmer, SeNaia Simpson, Davitta Singletary, Kayln Smith, Toni White, Jonathan Able, JaQuan Battle, Jaquel Brown, Malcolm Green, Mychal Keels, Sheldon Mba, Justin Williams and Robert Dartez Wright .
Tickets for the play are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. Children under 4 will not be admitted. For ticket information, call 919-530-5170. For general information, call 919-530-6242.