Blackface and Bigotry, Finely Tuned





NO star actors. (Check.) A complex cast of characters. (Check.) A plot based on a low moment in American history. (Check.) Songs that satirize racism, anti-Semitism, and execution by electric chair. (Check.) And all told by resurrecting one of theater’s most controversial storytelling devices, the minstrel show. (Check.)

Has there ever been a new Broadway musical facing a more daunting checklist of challenges than “The Scottsboro Boys,” which dares to set an infamous 1930s Alabama rape trial to music?

And yet, reader, and yet: A new leading man with major charisma. (Check.) Carefully inserted dialogue and laugh lines to help humanize each of those many characters. (Check.) A legendary songwriting team that over the years has turned cynicism and corruption — hey, even the Third Reich — into hummable stage gold. (Check.) And all told by a Tony Award-winning director who has staged some of the wittiest musical numbers in recent Broadway history. (Check.)...

comments powered by Disqus
History News Network