BWW Review: Philadelphia Theatre Company's THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS - Simply Excellent
The Scottsboro Boys, by the renowned duo John Kander and Fred Ebb, is simply excellent from the opening number to the final curtain. Vaudeville-infused numbers put a showy spin on the disturbing 1931 true story of nine black teenage boys in Alabama who were charged with a crime they didn't commit. From the initial accusation and unending jail time to the multitude of trials and the final resolutions made by the court and the boys themselves, the ensemble cast sings and dances their way through the entire saga. Filled with beautiful timbres, endearing characters, spirited dancing and grandiose pizazz, this show is an enjoyable way to engage in a greater discussion on race and progress in American society.
The set, an ingeniously simple and ever-changing combination of basic metal chairs and wooden planks, and the costumes, a charming array of vaudeville attire and early 1900s every day wear, both were creatively designed to feature what makes this show sparkle – the cast. Featuring several of the actors from the original production (including the Tony®-nominated Forrest McClendon as Mr. Tambo) alongside a company filled with strong singer-dancers, the Philadelphia Theatre Company production truly shines!
The original production of The Scottsboro Boys in 2010 garnered 12 Tony® nominations but only ran on Broadway for 49 performances, which seems to be a disconcerting trend in theatre. The Philadelphia Theatre Company production, the first post-Broadway incarnation, gives much-deserved attention to this outstanding musical and the tragic story behind it. Don't miss your opportunity to see this spectacular show!