A number of years ago I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dr. Lindamichelle Baron for the first time. I can’t say I remember all that we discussed, but I will never forget the moment when she suddenly segued from our discussion into one of her poems. It was captivating – not only for the wit, words, and turn of phrase, but for the smiling wisdom and expressive flair of Dr. Baron herself. Later, I discovered that, along with poet Nikki Giovanni, Dr. Baron had been one of featured poets in the 1970’s Off-Broadway sensation, directed by the award-winning Vinnette Carroll. This was very exciting to me, because as a teenager the first professional theatre production I had ever seen was another of Vinnette Carroll’s productions – Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope, by Micki Grant. The musical, filled with engaging songs, dance, and inspiring words, enjoyed a successful run on Broadway. Now all these years later, talking with Dr. Baron, I thought how wonderful it would be if we could bring some that same exuberance to York.
Dr. Baron contacted arts educator Lelia Billings about creating an idea for presentation. Ms. Billings chose a framework of poems to convey the perspective of an older woman looking back on a life of hard won wisdom and experience. Jonathan Quash graciously agreed to compose music, and casting was completed during finals week last May. The first rehearsal in mid-August brought the cast together to read, re-read, edit, and select material for personal and group development. While keeping to Ms. Billings original conception – a celebration of Community Youth Care Services, Inc. at PS 176Q.
We hope you have as wonderful a time watching this original production as we have had working on it!