Music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb
Book by David Thompson
Associate director and choreographer Jeff Whiting
Direction and choreography by Susan Stroman
Experience the daring final musical from the creators of Chicago and Cabaret—staged by the legendary Susan Stroman (The Producers)
Running time:The Scottsboro Boys runs 1 hour and 55 minutes with no intermission.
From the legendary creators of Chicago, Cabaret, and Kiss of the Spider Woman comes the daring and wildly entertaining new musical The Scottsboro Boys, staged by visionary director/choreographer Susan Stroman (The Producers). Based on the notorious "Scottsboro" case of the 1930s, The Scottsboro Boys tells the inspiring and shocking true story of nine young African American men—unjustly accused of a shocking crime—whose lives would eventually spark the Civil Rights Movement. A vivid, unforgettable theatrical event, this rousing production whirls through a mesmerizing chapter of American history with innovative staging, thrilling choreography, and a breathtaking score.
Video: a sneak peek at The Scottsboro Boys
"Scorching musical theater . . . daring, explosive, and mesmerizing" —San Jose Mercury News
"Electrifying!" —San Francisco Chronicle
"Do yourself a favor, make friends with the truth: see this triumphant musical." —Stark Insider
"Daring and fearlessly inventive . . . [with a] first-rate score by Kander & Ebb" —Los Angeles TimesRead the entire review.
"Exquisitely well wrought and enthralling . . . an impressive Bay Area debut" —San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Dazzling! As powerful as it is entertaining" —theaterdogs
"Dark, hilarious, rollicking, and riveting . . . an example of modern, experimental stagecraft at its finest" —SFist
"A musical with a huge heart . . . one of the most rousing entertainments you'll ever hear"—Beyond Chron
"Stunning . . . the best new musical of the year" —Entertainment Weekly
"Adventurous and dynamic . . . directed and choreographed with dazzling verve by Susan Stroman" —The New York Times
"If you see one show this season, make it The Scottsboro Boys!" —New York Post
"Powerful and provocative. An absolute marvel." —Associated Press
"Sharp, snappy, imaginative, and heartfelt" —Newsday
"A theatrical triumph. Hits perfect notes from beginning to end!" —Philadelphia Magazine
"One of the best-staged productions ever to come to Broadway. It is impossible not to be thrilled." —The Wall Street Journal
Presented in association with The Old Globe
InterACT Events Splashy parties, lively discussions, and more—all free with your ticket.*
Special Event!A.C.T. in Conversation with the Creative Team of The Scottsboro Boys
June 18, 6:30 p.m.
The acclaimed team behind the twelve-time Tony-nominated musical in conversation with A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff. Click here to watch our exclusive video of this one-night-only event.
June 26, 5:30 p.m.
Get inside the artistic process at this lively preshow discussion with the director and A.C.T. artistic staff.
Theater on the Couch
June 29, 8 p.m.
Led by Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at San Francisco's Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, this exciting postshow discussion series explores the minds, motives, and behaviors of the characters and addresses audience questions.
July 3, 7 p.m.
July 8, 2 p.m.
July 11, 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors, moderated by a member of the A.C.T. artistic staff.
OUT with A.C.T.
July 11, 8 p.m.
The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular afterparty. Visit www.act-sf.org/out for information about how to subscribe to OUT nights throughout the season.
July 14, 2 p.m.
Get hands-on with the art of theater with the artists who make it happen at this interactive preshow workshop. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.; the workshop will begin promptly at 12:40 p.m.
July 21, 8 p.m.
During this performance, open-captioning for the hearing impaired will be provided by Turner Reporting and Captioning Services. Please call the box office at 415.749.2228 for details and to be seated near the digital screen.
*Most events are free for ticket holders. Please note that performance times vary.
John Kander & Fred Ebb (Music and Lyrics)
David Thompson (Book)
Susan Stroman (Director and Choreographer)
Jeff Whiting (Associate Director and Choreographer)
Beowulf Boritt (Scenic Designer)
Toni-Leslie James (Costume Designer)
Ken Billington (Lighting Designer)
John Weston (Sound Designer)
Eric Ebbenga (Music Director)
Rick Sordelet (Fight Director)
Janet Foster, CSA (Casting Director)
Joshua Halperin (Stage Manager)
Elisa Guthertz (Assistant Stage Manager)
Kander & Ebb
First introduced by their mutual music publisher in 1962, composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb became one of the most legendary songwriting teams in the history of American theater. Together they created some of the most important, beloved, and acclaimed musicals in history, including Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. Ebb passed away in 2004, and The Scottsboro Boysproduced on Broadway in 2010was their final collaboration.
Below, John Kander discusses the creation of The Scottsboro Boysand why its message continues to resonate today.
THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS
Letter from John Kander
Nearly every musical I have ever written started as an idea around Fred Ebb's kitchen table. The Scottsboro Boys is no different. One morning in 2002, Susan Stroman, David Thompson, Fred Ebb, and I were gathered around Fred's table, eager to start a new project. One of us proposed an idea: what if we were to write a musical about a true storyone based on an important chapter in American history.
In order to find inspiration, we turned to the landmark court trials of the 20th century. Immediately, the case that jumped out at us was the story of the Scottsboro Boys. As a young boy growing up in Kansas City, I remember when the Scottsboro Boys were first in the headlines. I remember the conversations with my parents about what the trials meant. I am sure there were similar conversations at kitchen tables across the country. I also remember when the headlines began to fade and the Scottsboro Boys gradually disappeared from the national spotlight.
As we began to write The Scottsboro Boys, it was immediately apparent why it was so important to tell their story. Behind the headlines, the spectacle, the ongoing trials, and the histrionics of politicians and lawyers was the story of nine young African American boys, determined to prove that they mattered. And as collaborators, our kitchen table conversations continued: how was it possible that a group of innocent boys could be destroyed by a single lie? Why was it easier to believe that lie than it was to accept the truth?
The Scottsboro Boys is a story that still resonates today as we struggle to give voice to those who are marginalized or disenfranchised. I remember how much the story touched me as a young boy growing up in Kansas City. And it touches me even more today. Writing The Scottsboro Boys has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. I am eager for you to join us and become part of a conversation that I know you will take back to your own kitchen table.
Insight into the Play, the Playwright, and the Production
Each entertaining and informative issue of Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s in-depth performance guide series, contains a synopsis, advance program notes, study questions, and additional background information about the historical and cultural context of the play.
Words on Plays is available for purchase in the lobby of the theater during performances or online ($12 each + postage and handling or $5 each for the electronic edition). For more information about how to subscribe to a full or partial season, click here.
Words on Plays prepared by
Elizabeth Brodersen, Director of Education
Dan Rubin, Publications Manager
Michael Paller, Resident Dramaturg
Emily Hoffman, Publications and Dramaturgy Associate
Amy Krivohlavek, Marketing Writer
Emily Means, Education and Publications Fellow
Table of Contents
Characters, Cast, and Synopsis of The Scottsboro Boys
The Moving Subtext of an American Tragedy:
An Interview with Director/Choreographer
Susan Stroman by Dan Rubin
Entertainment with an Edge:
Kander and Ebb and the American Musical by Amy Krivohlavek