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While there’s been much effort to clean up Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park in recent years, it may feel like old times again when the pimps, prostitutes, and junkies of the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s acclaimed production of Melvin Van Peebles’s Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death put on this special outdoor performance. Nominated for seven Tony Awards when it debuted on Broadway in 1971 and considered a precursor of hip-hop and poetry slams, the hit musical made a successful comeback on Off-Broadway when CTH’s director, Alfred Preisser, revived it a few years back. Expect to see crooks serenading prostitutes, cops acting dirty, and a multitude of shady characters telling it like it is in the ’hood. Performances continue at other sites around the city through August 16.
Fri., Aug. 1, 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 2, 8 p.m., 2008