Stroman, Thompson on Board for Kander-Ebb Minstrel Show

News   Stroman, Thompson on Board for Kander-Ebb Minstrel Show Susan Stroman and David Thompson have signed on to direct and write the libretto, respectively, for the in-development John Kander and Fred Ebb musical about the Scottsboro Boys case. The show is tentatively titled The Minstrel Show, Variety reported.
Susan Stroman
Susan Stroman Photo by Aubrey Reuben

A spotlight was recently thrown on the show when, at the Nov. 15 memorial for lyricist Fred Ebb, Brian Stokes Mitchell sang "Make Friends With the Truth" from the show.

Kander told Variety that there is a first draft of the show, which is the last musical the duo wrote together. However, further work will take place, with Kander himself working on the lyrics. "If I feel I can't do it, then I'm going to have to contact someone," Kander said. The composer added that the show would use blackface to tell the infamous story of injustice and prejudice in the 1930s American south.

"The Scottsboro Boys" was the name given to nine black teenagers wrongly accused of the gang rape of two white girls on a Southern Railroad's Chattanooga to Memphis freight train on March 25, 1931. The arrests led to a series of highly publicized trials, lasting nearly a decade, in which, despite overwhelming evidence that their accusers were lying, the young men where sentenced to death again and again.

Stroman previously worked on the Kander and Ebb musical Steel Pier. With Thompson, she collaborated on Thou Shalt Not.