Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey! Fat With Tony Nominations, Scottsboro Boys Will Get West Coast Premiere in 2012
By Kenneth Jones
The Scottsboro Boys, the provocative Broadway musical that just snagged 12 Tony Award nominations despite the fact that the show closed on Broadway last fall, will resurface on the West Coast in spring 2012.
Playbill.com has learned that Tony-nominated director-choreographer Susan Stroman will recreate her work (with as many original cast members as possible) for a co-production between The Old Globe in San Diego and American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. April-July 2012 dates are expected to be announced shortly.
The original Tony-nominated creative team will reunite for the West Coast bow at the not-for-profit theatres, starting with The Old Globe in April. It is not known if a commercial tour will follow or if other not-for-profits beyond California will seek to book engagements of the darkly comic show, which borrows the conventions of the outmoded "minstrel show" to tell a fact-inspired tale of racial injustice.
The musical's commercial producer Barry Weissler was not immediately available to answer questions May 3 — the day his production was showered with a dozen 2011 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Score (John Kander and Fred Ebb), Best Book (David Thompson) and Best Direction and Choreography (Stroman).
The musical launched at Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre in 2010, spawned a cast album, had further development at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and then opened on Broadway in the fall. The reviews were mixed (from tepid and encouraging to wildly enthusiastic). Despite a cult of fans, the show did not catch fire at the box office; protests from a group concerned about the pointedly satiric minstrelsy on display did not seem to have any negative effect on the box office.
The Scottsboro Boys was one of the final collaborations between the longtime songwriting team of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman). Composer Kander assumed some lyric-writing duties for the project following the death of his co-writer.
The Scottsboro Boys tells the true story of nine black youths accused of raping two white women in the Depression-era South.
The Broadway production was also nominated for Tonys in the categories of Scenic Design (Beowulf Boritt), Featured Actor in a Musical (Colman Domingo and Forrest McClendon as Mr. Bones and Mr. Tambo), Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Joshua Henry), Orchestrations (Larry Hochman), Sound Design (Peter Hylenski) and Lighting Design (Ken Billington).
Composer John Kander, director Susan Stroman and their collaborators talk about reinventing the minstrel form:
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