Scottsboro Boys Cast Album in Stores Oct. 12; Broadway Previews Begin Oct. 7

News   Scottsboro Boys Cast Album in Stores Oct. 12; Broadway Previews Begin Oct. 7
 
Almost 50 years after Kander & Ebb began their collaboration in 1962, a new score by the writers will be heard on a cast album. It's sure to make fans "sing happy," as Ebb once wrote.

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The Off-Broadway cast album of John Kander and Fred Ebb's The Scottsboro Boys will be in stores starting Oct. 12, five days after its move to Broadway, record producer John Yap told Playbill.com.

The Jay Records release represents the Kander & Ebb score as heard last spring at Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre. There have been a couple of cast changes, plus book and song revisions, since that time. The show — a fact-inspired look at an infamous chapter in American justice, told in the frame of a minstrel show — is currently playing a pre-Broadway engagement to Sept. 25 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Broadway previews (with John Cullum re-joining the cast) begin Oct. 7 at the Lyceum Theatre toward an opening of Oct. 31.

Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (Contact, The Producers) again directs and choreographs. The orchestrator is Larry Hochman, the musical arranger is Glen Kelly and the music director is David Loud.

Yap is the album's producer, with Kander and David Loud serving as co-producers.

The Scottsboro Boys has music by Kander and lyrics by Ebb (and Kander, who picked up the pen after Ebb's death in 2004). The libretto is by David Thompson (Steel Pier). The album features Off-Broadway cast members Sean Bradford, Josh Breckenridge, Derrick Cobey, John Cullum, Brandon Victor Dixon, Colman Domingo, Rodney Hicks, Kendrick Jones, Forrest McClendon, Julius Thomas III, Sharon Washington, Cody Ryan Wise and Christian Dante White.

A bonus track features octogenarian Kander performing "Go Back Home."

Here's the track listing:

1. MINSTREL MARCH / HEY, HEY, HEY Orchestra and Company
2. OUR STORY BEGINS Interlocutor
3. COMMENCING IN CHATTANOOGA Haywood and The Scottsboro Boys
4. ALABAMA LADIES Victoria and Ruby
5. NOTHIN' Haywood
6. ELECTRIC CHAIR Guards, Eugene, Electrofied Charlie and Electrofied Issac
7. GO BACK HOME Haywood, Eugene and The Scottsboro Boys
8. SHOUT The Scottsboro Boys
9. MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE TRUTH Haywood, Billy and The Scottsboro Boys
10. THAT'S NOT THE WAY WE DO THINGS Samuel Leibowitz
11. NEVER TOO LATE Ruby and The Scottsboro Boys
12. FINANCIAL ADVICE Attorney General 13. SOUTHERN DAYS The Scottsboro Boys and Interlocutor
14. CHAIN GANG (MINSTREL MARCH Reprise) The Scottsboro Boys
15. ALABAMA LADIES (Reprise) Victoria
16. IT'S GONNA TAKE TIME Interlocutor
17. ZAT SO Governor of Alabama, Samuel Leibowitz and Haywood
18. YOU CAN'T DO ME Haywood
19. THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS The Scottsboro Boys
Bonus Track:
20. GO BACK HOME John Kander

Visit jayrecords.com.

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Commercial producers Fran and Barry Weissler plucked up the property in the spring and are carrying it to Broadway, with a few cast changes since the Vineyard. "We're really tweaking it," producer Fran Weissler said of the Guthrie run. "We added a song, we took away a song. Susan [Stroman] and John [Kander] and Tommy [librettist David Thompson] have a chance now to do it again. You look at what you've done and think, 'I did it. Now I have the time to really look at it, and maybe I can do more.' Every day, something new happens. We have a few new actors on top of that, so it's very exciting."

Most notably, Joshua Henry, who created the "Favorite Son" military hero in Broadway's American Idiot, now stars as one of the central figures in the case: He plays Haywood Patterson, one of nine young men wrongly accused of rape in Depression-era Alabama.

Patterson is a focal point in the musical, and (at least Off-Broadway) got to sing the plaintive jail cell number "Go Back Home." (Brandon Victor Dixon originated the role Off-Broadway, and will play Ray Charles in the Broadway musical Unchain My Heart.)

Henry was featured in the original Broadway cast of In the Heights and in the City Center production of The Wiz. He also appeared in Paper Mill Playhouse's Godspell.

Also joining the company at the Guthrie are Jeremy Gumbs as Eugene Williams and David Anthony Brinkley as The Interlocutor. On Broadway, Tony Award winner John Cullum will return to role of The Interlocutor, which he created at the Vineyard. Ken Billington is the new lighting designer.

According to producers, "Based on the notorious 'Scottsboro' case in the 1930s (in which nine African-American men were unjustly accused of a terrible crime) this daring and wildly entertaining musical explores a fascinating chapter in American history with brilliant originality."

The critically acclaimed production follows the lead of the script and borrows elements of the now-dead American theatrical form of a "minstrel show" — to make its social-justice points (and its theatrical ones, too). For much of the history of the form (which dates to the early 19th century), performances were acted by white men in blackface. All but one actor in Scottsboro Boys is black. Read Playbill.com's earlier feature about this postmodern take on minstrel shows.

The Scottsboro Boys is one of the final produced collaborations by Tony Award-winning musical theatre writers Kander (composer) and Ebb (lyricist), whose work includes Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Zorba. Ebb died in 2004.

Five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman staged such hits as The Producers, Contact and The Music Man. Book writer Thompson worked with Kander and Ebb on a revised Flora, the Red Menace and the musical Steel Pier and co-created their revue And the World Goes 'Round (all with Stroman). Thompson also adapted the script for Chicago's record-breaking revival.

The Scottsboro Boys is the winner of the 2010 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical and a 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics.

The Broadway creative team includes set designer Beowulf Boritt, costume designer Toni-Leslie James and sound designer Peter Hylenski. The Scottsboro Boys will be produced on Broadway by Barry and Fran Weissler, Jacki Barlia Florin and The Vineyard Theatre.

For information about the Guthrie run, visit guthrietheater.org.

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Broadway tickets ($39.50-$131.50; Premium $251.50) are available by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or online at www.telecharge.com. Performances will be Tuesday through Sunday at 8 PM, with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 3 PM.

For more information, visit www.ScottsboroMusical.com.

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