DON'T BOTHER ME I CAN'T COPE
July 28, 2018
Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope arrived on the City Center stage in a flurry of expectation because this generation’s major tap dancer Savior Glover choreographed and directed the revival. Originally produced in 1972, the groundbreaking show featured the first black woman to conceive and direct a Broadway show, Vinnette Carroll, as well as the first woman to
write the lyrics and music for a Broadway musical, Micki Grant. Another member of the original team, George Faison, was a popular Alvin Ailey Company dancer and choreographer.
But back to the present. Clocking in at a swift 75 minutes, Glover keeps the stage in motion while telling a story about America’s conflicted racial history through songs delineating an African American world view.
Although there is no real book, the collection of songs form bridges between rural lands and urban grit, church, fields and street corners. The plucky cast – led by Rheaume Crenshaw, Dayna Dantzler, Aisha De Haas, James T. Lane, Wayne Pretlow--dives into the roles assuming multiple characters and performing a variety of dance styles stitched together by Glover.
One thing Glover knows better than most is rhythm. That brilliant internalization of dance and jazz rhythms underpins Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope unifying the songs into a logical cycle of migration, family, work, prayer, protest and joy.
Known for his tap ingenuity, Glover expands his vocabulary to include period social dances, soul moves, and a floor jabbing, roof shaking tap sequence all bundled through a decidedly African American modern dance prism. In fact when the dancers broke into the central tap sequence, the audience roared because there was Glover’s signature flat-footed floor slaps, toe stands and a multitude of sounds shaded in warm and spanking bright colors. Despite all the different dance forms, Glover clothed his cast in dance sequences that suited them and the characters they were portraying.
And by the way, the on-stage jazz combo ripped under the direction of Annastasia Victory and the supervision of Chris Fenwick.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis