"The Scottsboro Boys" next step is on Broadway

"The Scottsboro Boys" put on a happy face
"The Scottsboro Boys" put on a happy face
Paul Kolnik
Our review of The Scottsboro Boys at the Guthrie hits the stands today (click here to read). It's a compelling, complicated, intellectually charged musical (one more than worth seeing), although those involved surely can't help but look past the show's September 25 closing date.

That's because the show arrives here after a successful run Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre; after it departs the Guthrie, it's heading for Broadway venue the Lyceum Theatre (a few hundred seats bigger than the Guthrie's proscenium stage) for previews beginning October 7. The official opening night will be October 31.

So the stakes are reasonably high, and The Scottsboro Boys is weird and thorny in appropriate measure to the story of awful racial injustice it depicts (in a stylized manner). I don't think its hard edges preclude success on Broadway, though I am admittedly a terrible prognosticator about such matters.

There have been a few Broadway musical hits in recent years with relatively unconventional subject matter (Grey Gardens, for example). A series of song-and-dance numbers about oppression and injustice might seem like a non-starter, until you see Scottsboro: it's full of smarts, unexpected moments, and, perhaps most importantly, impressive performances and catchy tunes.

Here's a video from the show's opening number, called "Minstrel March":

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