By Kenneth Jones
08 Jul 2010
Initial casting has been announced for the Broadway production of the new musical by John Kander, Fred Ebb and librettist David Thompson. Following its spring Off-Broadway run at Vineyard Theatre, and further summer development at the Guthrie Theater (July 31-Sept. 25) in Minneapolis, The Scottsboro Boys — inspired by a famous case of American injustice in the Jim Crow South — will open on Broadway Oct. 31 at the Lyceum Theatre. Previews will begin Oct. 7.
Henry, who will play Haywood Patterson, one of nine young men wrongly accused of rape in Depression-era Alabama, 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. 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 in 2010-11.)
Henry joins ten cast members from the Vineyard production, who will recreate their performances on Broadway and at the Guthrie Theater: Sean Bradford as Ozie Powell and Ruby Bates, Josh Breckenridge as Olen Montgomery, Derrick Cobey as Andy Wright, Colman Domingo as Mr. Bones, Rodney Hicks as Clarence Norris, Kendrick Jones as Willie Roberson, Forrest McClendon as Mr. Tambo, Julius Thomas III as Roy Wright, Sharon Washington as The Lady and Christian Dante White as Charles Weems and Victoria Price. Broadway casting for the roles of The Interlocutor (played by John Cullum Off-Broadway) and Eugene Williams will be announced soon. Those roles will be played at the Guthrie by David Anthony Brinkley and Jeremy Gumbs, respectively.
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 —which follows the lead of the script and borrows elements of the American theatrical form of a "minstrel show" — is directed and choreographed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, Contact, 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 Borritt, costume designer Toni-Leslie James, lighting designer Ken Billington, sound designer Peter Hylenski, orchestrator Larry Hochman, musical arranger Glen Kelly and music director David Loud.
The Scottsboro Boys will be produced on Broadway by Barry and Fran Weissler, Jacki Barlia Florin and The Vineyard Theatre.
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.