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OPENING MARCH 6
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The 1992 song “Cop Killer” earned rapper Ice-T a permanent spot on the anti-rap hit list. Now the African Continuum Theatre Company takes that theme and explores it in a venue that even C. Dolores Tucker would be hard pressed to disparage. The Hip Hop Nightmares of Jujube Brown combines hiphop elements (rap, breakdance, and DJing), with theater conventions to tell the story of a young black man who kills a cop. Much of the ensemble-credited text was written by Washington-based hiphop artist Toni Blackman, who appears in the play as a narrative voice of conscience. With tremendous versatility vocalist-dancer Psalmayene 24 (nee Gregory Morrison) portrays the protagonist, Jujube Brown, starting as a young child and moving up through his adolescence. DJ-producer Brent “Munch” Joseph provides the head-nod beats that define the play’s aesthetic. Director Jennifer Nelson has pulled together a clearly talented ensemble for this long overdue cultural collaboration. What remains less clear is if the two audiences—traditional Arena Stage theatergoers and the much younger heirs of hiphop—will come together with the same ease. At 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday with 3 p.m. matinees Saturday & Sunday (excluding March 7) to March 22nd at the Arena Stage Old Vat Theatre, 6th & Maine Ave. SW. $22.50. (202) 488-3300. (Holly Bass)