Commencing In Los Angeles; The Scottsboro Boys Return
Los Angeles may be hundreds of miles from Chattanooga but that hasn’t stopped one of the greatest untold stories of all time from making it’s way across the country. Three years ago, a new musical appeared on Broadway about a group of young black men. The group, who was wrongly accused for the crimes of another, told one of the most emotional and gripping stories to ever evolve from the segregated racist south. So why did so little people know their story? Their short ride on Broadway has not stopped their story from being told nationwide. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you coverage of The Scottsboro Boys officially opening in Los Angeles.
The Scottsboro Boys is a musical that features a book by David Thompson with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The musical brings to life one of the biggest unknown trials in American history. The story is of 9 young black boys who were held after being convicted of raping two white women in the South during the depression. Despite their innocence, the boys were all held in jail for some time. While over time some of them were freed, one never made it out. And while 8 of the 9 boys made it out, they weren’t free from the terror they experienced. Their story is not only terrifying, shocking but inspiring in one of greatest pieces of original musical theatre to be brought to the stage in over a decade.
The Scottsboro Boys began previews in Los Angeles on May 21st and will run through June 30th, 2013. The show is being presented through Center Theatre Group and is being presented at The Ahmanson Theatre. The show’s debut in Los Angeles marks the fourth production in major U.S. city for the show after it’s short lived Broadway life. The show has played previously in Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco. The Scottsboro Boys is also scheduled to make it’s West End debut later this year in London with a premiere slated for October 2013. Susan Stroman, once again, will recreate her work there. Producers of the show are also in talks for the show to premiere in cities such as Seattle, Boston and Chicago.
Leading it all again will be Tony and Emmy Award winning actor Hal Linden as the Interlocutor. He played the role previously in The Old Globe and American Conservatory Theatre productions. Tony-nominated Broadway cast member Joshua Henry returns to play Haywood Patterson, with Trent Armand Kendall as Mr. Bones and JC Montgomery as Mr. Tambo. The cast also features original Broadway cast members Clinton Roane and Christian Dante White. The rest of the cast includes Gilbert L. Bailey II, David Bazemore, Ayanna Berkshire, Shavey Brown, Christopher James Culberson, Max Kumangai, Justin Prescott, Cedric Sanders, Deandre Sevon and C. Kelly Wright.
The show is helmed by Broadway’s Susan Stroman who originally directed and choreographed the piece. She recreates her work for this production as does the entire original creative team who joins her for the Los Angeles run. The creative team features a scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Toni-Leslie James and lighting design by Ken Billington. Jon Weston designs sound for the CTG engagement. Jesse Kissel will conduct and musical direct the production.
I don’t think I can fully put into words how badly I would like to be in Los Angeles right now for this event. I remember hearing about The Scottsboro Boys when it was in New York playing Off-Broadway. When it transferred to Broadway, I knew I wanted a chance to experience the production. The show didn’t last long and upon the announcement that it was closing, I quite literally picked up the phone and ordered a ticket on the spot. My experience witnessing The Scottsboro Boys is something I wish I could relive every day. This show literally changed my life. The execution of the production, the music, the lyrics and the story is incredible. Nothing short. I only hope everyone in the Los Angeles area gets a chance to experience The Scottsboro Boys while it runs in L.A. While the story shows one of the worst times in our history, it is a story that we can all learn something from. If we don’t know our history, we are doomed to repeat it. We cannot allow this to happen again. Ever.
The Scottsoboro Boys officially opens tonight in Los Angeles! Break a leg to everyone involved in the production! Luner on Theatre will continue to bring you more news and coverage of the Los Angeles run of The Scottsboro Boys as it all unfolds! For more information, visit the Official Website for Center Theatre Group. Be sure to check Luner on Theatre on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter as well! We are constantly updating these pages with information! And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!