Why did David Mamet refuse an all-female troupe the right to perform his plays? The New York City-based QuintEssential Theatre Co. chose a series of pieces from Mamet's "Goldberg Streets" as its inaugural production. "We picked works we felt were gender nonspecific," says member Natasha Borg. The group got the OK from the two publishing houses that shared the rights, Dramatists Play Services and Samuel French. "When applying for the rights, you must list all the cast members," says Borg. "They could see we were all women." But a few weeks before the Jan. 6 performance, the group received letters from both houses saying the pieces were not intended for an all-female cast. The women began rehearsing other Mamet works they say the publishers agreed to grant rights to, as they were gender nonspecific. But the day before opening night, the cast was ordered by Samuel French to cease and desist. The shows were canceled. Explanation? Samuel French has directed all questions to the playwright's publicist, who declined to comment.