About The Show

The final collaboration between legendary composing duo John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago), The Scottsboro Boys tells the story of a group of nine black teenagers, brought together by fate in a case that sparked the American Civil Rights Movement and led to two pivotal Supreme Court rulings.

In true Kander and Ebb style, where the masters of the musical take difficult subjects and mold them into extraordinary, exhilarating entertainment, The Scottsboro Boys is breathtaking theatre. Experience this thrilling and bold new musical, with an outstanding ensemble, written by David Thompson and directed by 5 time Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman (The Producers).

Their Story:

On March 25th, 1931, nine black youth were ‘hoboing’ their way across the Southern Railway Line in Alabama, headed for Memphis. When a fight broke out in the crowded boxcar between some of the boys and a group of white boys, the whites were thrown off the train. News traveled to the next station and when the train was stopped, nine of the black boys were rounded up for fighting. Not wanting to get in trouble themselves for riding the train for free, the two white women accused the boys of rape.

A series of hastily arranged trials were conducted before an all-white jury while a feverish growing mob waited outside intent on lynching. Despite no evidence, despite no competent lawyers for the boys, the nine were swiftly found guilty and sentenced to death (all but the youngest, 12 year old Roy Wright). News of their plight and verdict spread swiftly across America. The American Communists, who were present at their trials, championed their cause and lit a fire. Demonstrations followed in New York, The NAACP also became involved in the fight for justice. A stay of execution from the Alabama Supreme Court was secured, saving the boys from death just days before their sentence was due to be enforced.

Months later, January 5th 1932, while the boys were still awaiting their fate on death row, Ruby Bates, one of the women who accused the boys, admitted that she was encouraged to lie in her statement by the police. Over the next five years, the ongoing battle to clear the boys’ names, amidst retrials, Supreme Court rulings and nationwide demonstrations polarized a fiercely divided country and became recognized for generations as one of the most tragic miscarriages of justice in legal history.

In April, 2013, 82 years after The Scottsboro Boys were accused, the Alabama Legislature unanimously passed The Scottsboro Boys Act, exonerating the boys. This was largely due to the efforts of Shelia Washington, founder of the Scottsboro Boys Museum who has dedicated her life to bringing justice to the boys. In November, the last three boys were officially pardoned. The attention brought to Scottsboro, Alabama, and the injustices suffered through The Scottsboro Boys musical has helped change history.



    The Observer