Throwback Thursday: Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope


September 17,1971

An all-black mini-musical,”Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” will bring the sounds and concerns of the seventies to Ford’s Theatre as the first attracion of is new “showcase season.”

A evening of melodies and lyrics inspired by the black man today, his hopes and is joys, “Cope” spins vision for an America that has been long racially divided.

I represents the combined efforts of several of today’s black talents: director Vinette Caroll, who conceived and mounted the show; composer/actress Micki Grant, who has written the music ad some of the lyrics (others are by Langston Huhes); and Talley Betty, who has contributed the choreography. “Cope” was originally staged last fall in the tiny off-off Broadway house of the Urban Arts Corps in New York City, where it provoked instant excitement. The New Yorker’s Edith oliver concluded her ecstatic review by admitting, “I realize that what we have here is more love letter than review, but there is nothing I can do about it.”

The musical subsequently toured ghetto neighborhoods in New York City, playing sometimes in the street, sometimes in school auditoriums, under the sponsorship of the New York State Council on the Arts and in accordance with Miss Carroll’s belief that the most effective way that “black is beautiful” is through the medium of theatre.

“Cope” has been remounted especially for Ford’s raked stage, and Miss Grant has penned additional songs for the Washington run.

Miss Grant has written a score that jumps freely from gospel to Billie Holiday-soul to calypso to rhythm and blues. She also doubles as one of the featured performers in the cast of 13. A regular on the NBC soap opera, “Another World,” she has in addition been hailed as a singer for the seventies.

“Cope” will play through October 10. Performances are at 7:30 PM. Tuesday through Friday; 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturdays. There will be two matiees each week, Thursday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.