New musical “The Scottsboro Boys” brought a tragic period of American history to the Great White Way when it opened October 31 at the Lyceum Theatre. John Kander and the late Fred Ebb penned the production’s minstrel-style music and lyrics, with a book by David Thompson.
Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, the dramatic tuner tells the true story of nine African-American boys who were falsely accused — and unjustly convicted — of rape in 1931 Alabama. The show follows the six years of trial and travesty endured by the accused, who ranged in age from their teens down to just 12 years old and came to be known as “The Scottsboro Boys.”
John Collum acts as the master of ceremonies, the Interlocutor. In between musical numbers, assistant minstrel narrators Mr. Bones (played by Colman Domingo) and Mr. Tambo (played by Forrest McClendon) tell jokes and set the scene for upcoming action.
The title “Boys” are played by Jeremy Gumbs (as the youngest of the accused), Joshua Henry, James T. Lane, Christian Dante White, Josh Breckenridge, Derrick Cobey, Julius Thomas III, Kendrick Jones, and Rodney Hicks. Several of the actors take on additional roles during the show, such as Lane and White, who also play the white women who accuse the Boys.
Three weeks of previews began October 7 at the 918-seat Lyceum. The playhouse saw an average capacity of 72 percent and has so far earned a total gross of $674.392, according to reports from the Broadway League. Regular ticket prices for the tuner range from $38 to $130, with premium seats priced at $250.
Performances are scheduled Tuesday through Sunday at 8 p.m. Matinees are scheduled Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. The show is just under two hours in length, without intermission.
The Lyceum Theatre is located at 149 West 45th Street in New York, NY. “The Scottsboro Boys” is booked into an open-ended run. Scheduling and ticketing details are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “The Scottsboro Boys”
|Variety||Steve Suskin||“The cast is terrific.”|
|New York Times||Charles Isherwood||“The musical never really resolves the tension between its impulse to entertain us with hoary jokes and quivering tambourines and the desire to render the harsh morals of its story with earnest insistence.”|
|USA Today||Elysa Gardner||“[‘Scottsboro’] wears its social conscience and its political incorrectness on its sleeve. And while the result is thoughtful, vibrant entertainment, the earnestness and irreverence can seem self-conscious.”|
|The Wall Street Journal||Terry Teachout||“…all this formidable talent has been enlisted in the service of a musical so smug that I could scarcely bear to sit and watch it.”|
|TheaterMania||Andy Propst||“Henry brings a rawness and bitterness to the role that proves riveting and his work grounds the show with intensity.”|
|Los Angeles Times||Charles McNulty||“‘The Scottsboro Boys’…dares to do things that, sadly, shouldn’t be tried these days on Broadway.”|