Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Even the street action - drug dealing, number writing and prostitution - at 14th and T Streets NW halted momentarily Monday night as the Everyman Street Theater Company put on an African adaption of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
About 500 persons sat rapt, watching the show, transferred to Africa, about lovers who fall in love with the wrong people after taking a magic potion.
The musical adaptation is a combination of Broadway musical slickness and contemporary music earthiness. Looking as if it were designed to appeal to a cross-section of people, the production moves mostly at a crackling pace with lively dancing and bursting song. There was also an attempt to bring an authentic African element to the setting.
The production took place on T Street, in a blocked-off area about 20 feet from 14th Street. Although trouble with lights and sound delayed the scheduled 8 p.m. opening by about 90 minutes, the promises of a program kept the audience waiting patiently.
A Good Humor truck, its bell ringing occasionally, did brisk business. So did the Sunny South Market, at the corner of 14th and T, where people bought sno-cones and slices of watermelon for 50 cents each.
Mike Malone, director of the production and outgoing artistic director at Western High School, said Monday night's performance marked the sixth or seventh year that street theater had been put on at 14th and T Streets NW.
The performance will be repeated almost nightly in different areas of the city until Aug. 31. It will be staged at Lincoln Center in New York on Sept. 4. Later that month. Malone will become director of theater at Karamu House Theater in Cleveland.
The performances are being sponsored by Workshops for Careers in the Arts and George Washington University.
Not everyone liked what was going on. One nattily dressed man walking through the audience was heard muttering, "We sure can't do no business tonight. This music is just (bleeping) everything up."
But White said not everyone in the neighborhood is of the hustling kind. "There're people here who go to work; 9 to 5, every day, and they have children. This is a neighborhood with Tuesday night's performance took place at 8 at Langdon Playground, 19th and Franklin Streets NE. Today the production will be staged at Turner Playground, Alabama Avenue and Stanton Terrace SE, also at 8 p.m.