Micki Grant, ‘Another World’ Star, Dead at 80

Micki Grant, a trailblazing playwright, actress, and singer, died on Sunday. She was 80. Grant’s death was first reported by Broadway World and later confirmed by publishing company Concord Theatricals, notes Deadline. No cause of death has been reported. Grant was the first woman to write both music and lyrics to a Broadway show with Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, directed by the first Black woman to direct on Broadway, Vinnette Carroll. Grant also starred in the soap opera Another World.

Grant was born in Chicago, where she studied at the Chicago School of Music and the University of Illinois. She headed to New York City first, but began her theatrical career in Los Angeles, where she earned a role in Fly Blackbird. During the early 1960s, she starred in the off-Broadway play The Blacks with James Earl Jones and Cecily Tyson. She made her Broadway debut in Tambourines to Glory, co-written by Langston Hughes.

Don’t Bother Me was first performed in Washington D.C. before it opened on Broadway in April 1972. The musical revue had over 1,000 performances during its original production. The show’s cast recording made Grant the first Black woman to win the Grammy Award for Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album. Don’t Bother Me also earned Tony nominations for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Direction of a Musical. Don’t Bother Me earned a limited revival in 2018 from New York by Encores!.

Grant also made history on television. She was the first Black contract player on a daytime show, starring as attorney Peggy Nolan on NBC’s Another World from 1965 to 1972. Grant also starred in a 1982 episode of Guiding Light and had a three-episode run on All My Children in 2008. In 2002, she starred in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Grant also directed productions, including Ruby Dee’s Two Ha Ha’s and a Homeboy for the Crossroads Theatre Company and I Can’t Cope for the Apollo Modern Black Classic Series. She earned several awards throughout her career, including the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dramatists of America.

“Equity was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Micki Grant,” the Actors’ Equity union tweeted on Monday. “A three-time Tony Award nominee and 2009 Paul Robeson award recipient, Grant made history as the first woman to write and star in an original Broadway musical. She will be sorely missed.”

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