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A New Razzle Dazzle: Kander & Ebb's 'Scottsboro Boys' Jumps to Broadway

The Scottsboro Boys, the new Kander & Ebb musical that swipes elements from 19th-century American theatrical history to tell the story of a 20th-century injustice, cakewalks onto Broadway on Oct. 7.

With a score by Broadway groundbreakers John Kander and the late Fred Ebb, and a libretto by David Thompson (Steel Pier and the adaptation of the Chicago revival), The Scottsboro Boys — directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman — uses the archaic but highly theatrical form of a minstrel show to tell the fact-inspired case of nine black men wrongly accused of rape in the Depression-era South.

Opening night is Oct. 31 at the Lyceum Theatre. The production had previous engagements at Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre in the spring (spawning an Off-Broadway cast album due in stores Oct. 12) and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in the summer.

Broadway masters Kander (composer) and the late Fred Ebb (lyricist) share music and lyric credit here, with Kander supplying additional lyrics. Ebb died in 2004. When Kander, Thompson and Stroman resumed work on the show, Kander said he would write new lyrics, "channeling" Ebb. He told on Oct. 6 that about two-thirds of the score was done at the time of Ebb's passing, and that he doesn't intend to share what his own new lyric/song contributions are. He's hoping the score is a seamless piece of cloth.

Click below to listen to samples from the Off-Broadway cast album of The Scottsboro Boys, used with permission from JAY Productions Ltd. (© 2010 JAY Productions Ltd. / ℗​ 2010 JAY Productions Ltd.):

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