Scottsboro Boys' West Coast Bow Opens May 5 at Old Globe; James T. Lane, Ron Holgate Star
By Kenneth Jones
The Scottsboro Boys, the Tony Award-nominated musical inspired by a Depression-era miscarriage of American justice, makes its West Coast debut, officially opening May 5 following previews from April 29 at The Old Globe in San Diego. Veterans of the 2010 Broadway staging punctuate the company.
Nominated for 12 Tony Awards, The Scottsboro Boys features music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, libretto by David Thompson, musical direction by Eric Ebbenga and direction and choreography by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (her work is recreated here by an associate, Jeff Whiting).
Performances will play to June 10 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA.
Tony Award winner Ron Holgate (1776) shares the stage with six fellow cast members from the recent Philadelphia Theatre Company engagement and newcomers, plus James T. Lane (reprising his roles from Broadway). Broadway cast member Kendrick Jones, originally mentioned for this run, is no longer with the company; Cornelius Bethea has taken his role of Willie Roberson. JC Montgomery and Clinton Roane, two actors who were part of the original Broadway company as swings, are now in roles.
The Scottsboro Boys is presented in association with American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where the musical will appear immediately following the San Diego run.
The Scottsboro Boys "is a daring new musical based on the notorious 'Scottsboro' case in which nine young African American men were unjustly accused of rape in 1930s Alabama," according to The Old Globe. Their story would eventually help spark the Civil Rights Movement. Stroman and the writers use the structure of the theatrical phenomenon of a minstrel show to tell the bitterly satiric tale.
The cast of The Scottsboro Boys features Tony Award winner Ron Holgate (1776) as The Interlocutor, Clifton Duncan as Haywood Patterson, Jared Joseph as Mr. Bones and JC Montgomery as Mr. Tambo. The cast also includes David Bazemore (as Olen Montgomery), Nile Bullock (Eugene Williams), Christopher James Culberson (Andy Wright), Eric Jackson (Clarence Norris), Cornelius Bethea (Willie Roberson), James T. Lane (Ozie Powell/Ruby), Clifton Oliver (Charles Weems), Clinton Roane (Roy Wright) and C. Kelly Wright (The Lady), with Audrey Martells (The Lady Understudy) and Shavey Brown and Max Kumangai (Swings).
The Old Globe's production of The Scottsboro Boys reunites the original creative team of Jeff Whiting (associate director and choreographer), Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Toni-Leslie James (costume design) and Ken Billington (lighting design). Boritt and Billington were nominated for Tony Awards for their designs.
The creative team also includes Jon Weston (sound design), Eric Santagata (assistant choreographer), Rick Sordelet (fight director), Janet Foster, CSA (casting) and Joshua Halperin (stage manager).
For information, visit TheOldGlobe.org.
The Old Globe will present three educational seminars about The Scottsboro Boys and the historical significance of the Scottsboro legal case. Admission is free, but reservations are required for these special events. Visit The Old Globe website for more information.
Composer John Kander, director Susan Stroman and their collaborators talk about reinventing the minstrel form:
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