The show — a cultural pulse-taking of the challenges facing the black community in America, conceived by Vinette Carroll — scored its first major success at Ford's more than 30 years ago. Kenny Leon, artistic director of True Colors Theatre, will direct the fresh reading.
The cast includes Adrian Bailey, Tracee Beazer, Willa Bost, Everett Bradley, LaVon Fisher, Marva Hicks, Griffin Matthews, Kevyn Morrow, Lucy Shropshire, Saundra Silliman, C.E. Smith and Gary E. Vincent. Patdro Harris is choreographer, J Michael is musical director and arranger.
True Colors Theatre performs in Atlanta and Washington. Micki Grant and Kenny Leon and producers Deborah Thomas and Denise Gray are updating Cope "in anticipation of a Broadway run next season," according to Ford's Theatre.
Cope played a four-week run at Ford's Theatre in 1971. Its Broadway production, presented in association with Ford's, 1972-74, earned three Tony nominations and ran for more than a thousand performances in New York. When it returned to Ford’s in 1974, Cope's popularity prompted the theatre to extend the run from four to 21 weeks.
Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope is the second installment in Ford’s SBC 2005-06 Reading Series, which is free and open to the public. Reservations are requested — call (202) 347-6262. Doors open at 6:30 PM Nov. 28. In program notes for a recent excerpted presentation of the show, Grant said, "[S]ince Cope took leave of Broadway many years ago we have had changes in presidents and governors, enemies and allies, houses and even spouses. At the same time some schools are still separate and unequal, people are still treated differently because of color or gender… so many questions still remain that a revisit does seem in order."
Ford's Theatre Society is a not-for-profit corporation created to produce live entertainment on Ford's historic stage. Paul R. Tetreault is producing director. It is the mission of the Ford's Theatre Society "to honor President Lincoln and his love for the theatre by producing plays and musicals that celebrate and explore the American experience as revealed by America's greatest theatre artists."
Ford's SBC Reading Series is made possible by a grant from SBC Communications.