Scottsboro Boys, With Hal Linden, Clifton Duncan, James T. Lane, Opens in San Francisco June 27

By Kenneth Jones
June 27, 2012

The San Francisco engagement of The Scottsboro Boys, the multiple Tony Award-nominated musical, opens June 27 following previews from June 21 at American Conservatory Theatre. Tony winner Hal Linden now stars as the Interlocutor, with members of the company recently seen at The Old Globe in San Diego.



ACT has extended the run, now to July 22. Nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 2011, The Scottsboro Boys features music and lyrics by the Broadway songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman), book by David Thompson (Steel Pier, Chicago), musical direction by Eric Ebbenga, and direction and choreography by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Contact).

Jeff Whiting is associate director and choreographer.

Tony and Emmy winner Linden was the star of "Barney Miller" and Broadway's The Rothschilds, among other projects.

The company also features Clifton Duncan as Haywood Patterson, Jared Joseph as Mr. Bones, and JC Montgomery as Mr. Tambo, plus David Bazemore as Olen Montgomery, Cornelius Bethea as Willie Roberson, Nile Bullock as Eugene Williams, Christopher James Culberson as Andy Wright, Eric Jackson as Clarence Norris, James T. Lane as Ozie Powell/Ruby Bates, Clifton Oliver as Charles Weems/Victoria Price, Clinton Roane as Roy Wright, and C. Kelly Wright as The Lady, with Audrey Martells as an understudy for The Lady and Shavey Brown and Max Kumangai as swings.

James T. Lane
photo by Henry DiRocco

ACT'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). 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). This production of The Scottsboro Boys is presented in association with The Old Globe.

"Based on the notorious Scottsboro trials of the 1930s, The Scottsboro Boys tells the story of nine African American teenagers convicted of raping two white girls on a Southern Railroad freight train while hitching a ride to Memphis in search of employment," according to ACT. "Despite the fact that one of the original complainants later denied that any rape had occurred, the nine teenagers were subjected to years of brutal imprisonment, death-sentence verdicts, and denied appeals. Reclaiming the framework of a minstrel show, the musical — through high-energy dance numbers and exuberant music — courageously addresses one of the most abhorrent episodes in American history."

The Scottsboro Boys had its world premiere in February 2010 at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City. The show moved to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in July 2010, where it played to sold-out houses, before moving to Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre in October 2010.

Read Playbill.com's account of the Dec. 12, 2010, final Broadway performance of The Scottsboro Boys

For tickets and information, call (415) 749-2228 or visit act-sf.org.

Composer John Kander, director Susan Stroman and their collaborators talk about reinventing the minstrel form: