The Scottsboro Boys
The Scottsboro Boys – Theater Review
The Scottsboro Boys, the new John Kander and Fred Ebb musical that takes a flashpoint in American Civil Rights history and makes it sing, dance and sting, opens at the Vineyard. John Cullum, Brandon Victor Dixon and Colman Domingo are among its stars.
The Scottsboro Boys is at the Vineyard Theatre. It is based on a situation that I actually knew, which is nine young black men who were accused of raping two white women and were put in jail. It was a cause celebre for the left on this country including widespread demonstrations since one of the women recanted her testimony. They were apparently tried multiple times. This is a musical. There are people who object to musicals not being about parades and trombones. But, if you think about it, musicals have a long history of being about relatively unpalatable topics including terrorism, autism, incest, all sorts of things. So, if you can get past the idea that this is not going to be necessarily a happy situation. It’s a serious subject matter, it is an amazingly good cast of singing and dancing. It is 11 people who play most of the parts, and I thought it was terrific. I thought that the subject matter is a admittedly a tad jarring, especially given the reality of the situation. But, I don’t think all musicals have to be cheery. So, I give it three and a half starts.