Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope
|Don't Bother Me,|
I Can't Cope
Original cast recording
1971 Washington, D. C. |
1972 Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles
|Awards||1972 Outer Critics Circle Award|
It was originally produced by Edward Padula.
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. The music is a mixture of gospel, jazz, funk, soul, calypso, and soft rock.
The show had its first staging at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. in 1971, with subsequent stagings at the Locust and Walnut Street Theatres in Philadelphia. The Broadway production, directed by Vinnette Carroll and choreographed by George Faison, opened on April 19, 1972 at the Playhouse Theatre, where it ran for two months before transferring to the Edison. It had a total run of 1065 performances.
The cast included Grant, Alex Bradford, Hope Clarke, and Arnold Wilkerson. It was the first Broadway play to be directed by an African-American woman. Time Magazine theatre critic T. E. Kalem praised the show, writing: "This is the kind of show at which you want to blow kisses."
The Los Angeles production featured Paula Kelly.
- "I Gotta Keep Movin'" (reprised at play's end)
- "Harlem Streets"
- "Lookin' Over from Your Side"
- "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope"
- "Fighting for Pharaoh"
- "Good Vibrations"
- "You Think I Got Rhythm?"
- "They Keep Coming"
- "My Name is Man"
- "Love Power"
- "It Takes a Whole Lot of Human Feeling"
- "Time Brings About a Change"
- "So Little Time"
- "Thank Heaven for You"
- "All I Need"
Awards and nominations
- Outer Critics Circle Award, best musical, 1972
- Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance (Grant)
- Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Lyricist
- Obie Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Bradford)
- Grammy Award for Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album (Grant & Ragavoy)
- Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Distinguished Direction, 1972 (Carroll)
- Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Distinguished Performance (Kelly)
- Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Distinguished Choreography (Claude Thompson)
- Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Distinguished Musical Direction and Arranging (H.B. Barnum)
- nominee, Tony Award for Best Musical, 1973
- nominee, Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical
- nominee, Tony Award for Best Original Score
- nominee, Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical
- Grode, Eric (July 20, 2018). "A Buoyant '70s Musical About Black Lives Lands in 2018". The New York Times.
- Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, Micki Grant. Polydor PD 6013, 1972
- "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope". Centertheatregroup.org. 2007.