A Celebration of Life for Micki Grant Set at Riverside Church on Oct. 11

Micki Grant. Photo by Lia Chang

I am really looking forward to the glorious celebration of the life of Micki Grant that will take place on Monday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m. at Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive in New York. Click here to RSVP, which is required to attend.

There is limited seating; face masks and social distancing are required. The memorial service will also be lived streamed here.

Micki Grant. Photo by Lia Chang

Micki Grant, a multi-award-winning composer, lyricist, playwright, librettist, singer, and actress, died on August 20. She was 92.

Ms. Grant was involved in the creation of some 18 theatrical productions, five of them on Broadway. With the long-running Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, in which she also starred, she became the first woman to win a Grammy Award for the score of a Broadway musical. She also received Tony nominations for book, music, and lyrics. Another Grammy nomination for the score (with Alex Bradford) of Your Arms Too Short to Box with God followed, as well as another Tony nomination for the score of Working. When Your Arms Too Short… and It’s Nice to Be Civilized opened on subsequent evenings, Grant had the distinction of having two Broadway musicals running simultaneously. She wrote the music and contributed lyrics for J. E. Franklin’s Prodigal Daughter and contributed additional lyrics to Eubie! and Sweet & Hot: The Songs of Harold Arlen. For Jacques Brel Blues, she supplied the English lyrics for 20 songs by the Belgian songwriter. Along with …I Can’t Cope and Your Arms Too Short…, she had an extensive list of collaborations with the dynamic Emmy-winning director, Vinnette Carroll. She wrote songs for educational television’s Infinity Factory, and one of her several commercial jingles garnered the ad industry’s prestigious CLIO Award. Her creative body of work has been celebrated in two Off-Broadway musicals, Step Into My World at AMAS Repertory Theatre, and Looking Back at New Federal Theatre.

As an actress, Ms. Grant performed on and Off Broadway and in regional theatres around the country having made her Broadway debut as the ingenue in Langston Hughes’ Tambourines to Glory. In the late ‘90s,  a two-year National tour of the play Having Our Say took her to more than 68 U.S. cities and to Johannesburg, South Africa, earning her the Helen Hayes Award for her performance as Sadie Delany. She also appeared in the CBS movie of the same name. The first African-American contract player on a daytime serial, she played the role of attorney Peggy Nolan on NBC’s “Another World” for seven years, and has had continuing roles on “Edge of Night” and “Guiding Light,” as well as guesting on “All My Children”. Directing credits include, among others, Ruby Dee’s Two Ha Ha’s and a Homeboy, starring Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee at Crossroads Theatre Company, and I Can’t Cope for the Apollo Modern Black Classic Series. A multitude of awards include the OBIE, NAACP Image, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Audelco’s Outstanding Pioneer, AEA’s Paul Robeson, and the National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend and the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement awards. Grant was also the 2012 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dramatists Guild of America.

Below is my photo essay of Micki over the years in advance of her memorial service. The last time I saw Micki was on the set of Hadestown at the Walter Kerr Theatre on June 2, 2019.

Lia Chang, André De Shields, Micki Grant, Reeve Carney and Lori Minor, Amber Gray. Photo by Lia Chang

July, 2013: National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC

February 22, 2016 – The York Theatre Company

On the eve of the 45th anniversary of Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, Ms. Grant discussed her career and what it took to move COPE, the first full-length musical written by an African-American woman to make it to Broadway from the page to the Broadway stage, with Project1Voice Founder/CEO Erich McMillan-McCall at the York Theatre Company.

Below, Micki Grant sings Thank Heaven For You from Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope at York Theatre Company.

The York Theatre Company Celebrates Micki Grant, Featuring Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope in Musicals in Mufti Series 

March 2, 2016 – The York Theatre Company


July 25, 2018 – New York City Center

Lin-Manuel Miranda, George C. Wolfe, Jeanine Tesori, Anne Kaufman and More Celebrate Micki Grant and Vinnette Carroll’s DON’T BOTHER ME, I CAN’T COPE at New York City Center Encores! Off-Center

July 28, 2018 – New York City Center

Dramatist: Honoring Micki Grant with Kirsten Childs

Kirsten Childs (right) talking with Micki Grant (left) on stage talking about writing and composing for musical theatre, after the July 28, 2018 matinee of Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, the third production of the Encores! Off-Center season at New York City Center. Photo by Lia Chang

The League of Professional Theatre Women Tribute – a video created and edited by Shellen Lubin and Zija Lubin-West from Micki Grant’s private collection of photos, VHS videos, and LPs.

In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting any of the following organizations in memory of Micki Grant:

American Cancer Society

League Of Professional Theatre Women

North Carolina Black Repertory Company, producers of the National Black Theatre Festival

Micki is featured in this video with Tina Fabrique singing Fighting for Pharaoh.

NY Times: Micki Grant, Groundbreaking Broadway Composer, Dies at 92

Billboard: Micki Grant, Broadway Composer and Lyricist, Dies at 92

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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