The season begins with the soulful musical revue, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, then August Wilson’s masterpiece, Two Trains Running. The season then moves into Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem Spell #7 ending with Marie and Rosetta.
Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope September 4-22
Garnering a Grammy and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope was the first musical revue in the history of Broadway to be written and directed by African-American women, namely Micki Grant and Vinette Carol.
First performed in 1971, the show’s themes of economic and racial injustice still ring clear today. With little dialogue in between performances, its poignant social commentary is weaved into an unbroken cycle of high-energy feel-good song and dance numbers that fuse gospel with jazz, soul and calypso. Its ability to shine a light on important issues whilst staying upbeat saw the show run for over 1000 performances during its run on the Great White Way.
Two Trains Running January 8-26
In August Wilson’s masterpiece, history unfolds around everyday lives against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Long-time regulars gather at the local diner in Pittsburgh’s Hill District to gossip, flirt and play the numbers. The owner must decide whether to let the city take over his building or sell it to a shrewd, local businessman. Part of Wilson’s trailblazing American Century Cycle, Two Trains Running paints a compassionate & unforgettable portrait of ordinary people in the midst of transformation.
Spell #7 February 19-March 8
This striking choreopoem by the author of For Colored Girls, Ntozake Shange is set in St. Louis in a bar frequented by Black artists and musicians, actors, and performers. In a series of dreamlike vignettes and poetic monologues, they commiserate about the difficulties they face as black artists. The piece is framed by the narrator, Lou, a magician who wants to use his magic to help the characters come to terms with their blackness and rejoice in their identities.
Marie and Rosetta May 6-24
A huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a legend in her time, bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music. “Marie and Rosetta” chronicles her first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight, as they prepare to embark on a tour that would establish them as one of the great duos in musical history.
Tickets for the 2019-2020 Season are currently available by season subscription and group sales only. For information or to purchase a subscription by phone call (314) 534-3807. To purchase season subscriptions online, visit www.theblackrep.org. General ticket on-sale dates for each show will be announced in the future.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.