Original Broadway Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman

of the Final Musical Collaboration from Kander and Ebb


The landmark trial of the Scottsboro Boys is brought to life in Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of the multiple Tony-nominated musical The Scottsboro Boys with music and lyrics by the legendary team of John Kander and Fred Ebb and book by David Thompson, running January 20-February 19 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (Broad and Lombard Streets). The first production since its Broadway run, The Scottsboro Boys features original direction and choreography by Susan Stroman, recreated by Jeff Whiting, with original Broadway cast members Derrick Cobey, Rodney Hicks, Kendrick Jones, Forrest McClendon, JC Montgomery and Clinton Roane.  They are joined by new cast members Andrew Arrington, Gilbert L. Bailey II, Nile Bullock, Ron Holgate, and Eric Jackson and Philadelphians David Bazemore and Kaci M. Fannin.

Previews begin Friday, January 20 with Opening Night on Wednesday, January 25.  Performances run Tuesday through Sunday until February 19.  Tickets starting at $25 are available by calling the PTC Box Office at 215-985-0420 or visiting PhiladelphiaTheatreCompany.org.  Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre is located at Broad and Lombard Streets.

The Scottsboro Boys is a stirring and highly original musical that explores the infamous 1930’s ‘Scottsboro Case’ in which a group of African-American teenagers are falsely accused of a terrible crime, ultimately provoking a national outrage that laid the groundwork for the American Civil Rights movement.  The Scottsboro Boys is the definition of inspired American musical theater with a gorgeous and melodic score and rousing choreography.

The Scottsboro Boys is about nine boys who are just trying to survive – to get a job, get back home, start a life.  And, above all, prove to the world that they matter,” said librettist David Thompson.

Continued Director/Choreographer Susan Stroman: “A uniquely American story about an important chapter of American history, The Scottsboro Boys is a story that still has relevance today. So many of those issues are unresolved, and threaten to remain so unless we engage in a dialogue about them.    I look forward to working at Philadelphia Theatre Company. Our hope is this production will be a way to get the conversation started, and to carry it forward.”

In addition to the standard Book Club and Meet-the-Artist post-show discussions, PTC is offering several events to illuminate the historical and contemporary relevance of The Scottsboro Boys.  On January 22, WURD-AM will offer a live broadcast of a community conversation about how race plays a role in the criminal justice system, featuring panelists Michael Coard and Marc Lamont Hill.  PTC will host American Playwrights in Context featuring a conversation with composer John Kander and book writer David Thompson on January 29.  On February 15, PTC will collaborate with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project to present a Continuing Legal Education event featuring an in-depth look at the Scottsboro Case and the politics of injustice, with the Honorable Louis H. Pollak, son of one of the original ACLU lawyers defending the Scottsboro Boys and Dan T. Carter, author of Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South.

The Scottsboro Boys opened at the Vineyard Theatre in February, 2010 and, after a brief run at the Guthrie Theatre, moved to Broadway in fall, 2010.  It received 12 Tony Award nominations, four Adelco Award nominations, one Drama Desk Award and eight additional nominations, 2 Lucille Lortel Award and one additional nomination, and six Outer Critics Circle Award nominations with one win.  The Scottsboro Boys represents the third collaboration among John Kander and Fred Ebb, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson, having worked together on Steel Pier, the revival of Flora the Red Menace, and And the World Goes ‘Round, which PTC premiered for Philadelphia in 1993.

John Kander and Fred Ebb (Music and Lyrics) have written sixteen musicals, winning Tony Awards for Cabaret, Woman of the Year, and Kiss of the Spider Woman.  They are also the creators of Flora the Red Menace, Chicago, The Rink, And the World Goes ‘Round, and Steel Pier.  They won Emmy Awards for Liza with a Z and Steppin’ Out, and Grammy Awards for Chicago and Cabaret.  They are the recipients of five additional Tony nominations, two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe nominations.  In 1985, their song “New York, New York” became the official anthem of New York City.

David Thompson (Librettist) received a Tony nomination for Best Book for The Scottsboro Boys as well as a Drama Desk nomination and the Hull-Warriner Award.   Thompson created the new script adaptation for the current revival of Chicago, which is now in its 15th year on Broadway, making it the longest running American musical in history.  Other Broadway projects include Steel Pier (Tony Nomination, Best Book) and Lincoln Center’s Thou Shalt Not directed by Susan Stroman. Upcoming Broadway projects include Prince of Broadway, directed by Hal Prince and Susan Stroman.  Off-Broadway, Thompson’s work includes And the World Goes ‘Round (Drama Desk and Outer Circle Critics Awards) and the revival of Flora, the Red Menace (Drama Desk nomination).

Susan Stroman (Original Direction and Choreography) won critical acclaim for her direction and choreography of the Broadway production of The Scottsboro Boys. She directed and choreographed The Producers, winner of a record-making 12 Tony Awards including Best Direction and Best Choreography. She co-created, directed and choreographed the groundbreaking musical Contact for Lincoln Center Theater, winning the 2000 Tony Award for Best Choreography, as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards and a 2003 Emmy Award for Live at Lincoln Center. Other Broadway credits include, Oklahoma! (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Olivier Awards), Young Frankenstein, Thou Shalt Not, The Music Man (Outer Critics Circle Award), The Frogs, Steel Pier, Big, Show Boat (Tony, Outer Critics Circle Awards), Picnic and Crazy for You (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Olivier Awards).   Off-Broadway credits include And the World Goes ’Round (Outer Critics Circle Award), Flora the Red Menace, and Happiness. For ten years she choreographed Madison Square Garden’s annual spectacular event A Christmas Carol (Outer Critics Circle Award).  She received the American Choreography Award for her work in Columbia Pictures feature film Center Stage and was nominated for four Golden Globes for her direction and choreography of The Producers: The Movie Musical. She is the recipient of the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Theatre and the winner of a record five Astaire Awards.

Jeff Whiting (Recreation of Original Direction and Choreography) has served as the Associate Director and Choreographer for The Scottsboro Boys, Hair, Young Frankenstein, and the 5th Anniversary production of Wicked, as well as the national tours of Hairspray and The Producers.  He has directed and choreographed Kiss Me Kate at Glimmerglass, Tarantella: Spider Dance for Theater for a New City, and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at Arkansas Rep, as well as several productions at Cortland Rep.  As a member of Disney’s creative team he directed and choreographed over 50 shows and events.

Andrew Arrington (Charlie Weems/Victoria) has appeared with the national tours of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and How the Grinch Stole Christmas as well as in The Lion King in Las Vegas.  His New York credits include Showboat at Carnegie Hall and Disney’s High School Musical 2 at New York Stage and Film.

Gilbert L. Bailey II (Ozie Powell/Ruby) has appeared in Five Guys Named Moe and Smokey Joe’s Café at Pennsylvania Centre Stage as well as several productions at Music Theatre of Wichita and West Virginia Public Theatre.  He is a recent graduate at Pennsylvania State University where he was featured in several productions.

David Bazemore (Olen Montgomery) got his theater start at Upper Darby Summer Stage outside of Philadelphia.  He has been a frequent presence at Shenandoah Summer Musical Theatre, Wilmington Drama League and Shenandoah Conservatory.

Nile Bullock (Eugene Williams) has starred in the annual productions at The Garage Theatre in his hometown of Teaneck, NJ.  The home-schooled eleven year-old currently studies at the American Foundation of Tap and for three years at Broadway Dance Center.

Derrick Cobey (Andy Wright) returns to the role he originated in the Broadway production of The Scottsboro Boys.  He has appeared Off-Broadway in Tin Pan Alley Rag at Roundabout Theatre Company and in several Gilbert and Sullivan operettas at New York City Center.   Featured in Arden Theatre Company’s production of Pacific Overtures, his other regional credits include starring roles in Ragtime at Paper Mill Playhouse and Into the Woods at Great Lakes Theatre Festival.

Kaci Fannin (The Lady) has appeared locally in InterAct Theatre Company’s world premiere productions of Little Lamb and Black Gold as well as in Criminal Hearts at Walnut Street Theatre, A Matter of 2nds at Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, and User 927 at Brat Productions.  She has also performed at Cherry Lane Theatre, Fulton Opera House and Two Rivers Theatre Company.

Rodney Hicks (Haywood Patterson) appeared in the Broadway productions of The Scottsboro Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar and the original cast of Rent.  He is the recipient of an Audelco Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Lotto at the York Theatre and an Audelco Award nomination for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Musical for My Hometown at the Grammercy Theatre.  A native Philadelphian, he has been featured at Portland Center Stage, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Baltimore Center Stage, Geva Theater Center and Long Wharf Theatre.

Ron Holgate (The Interlocuter) is the recipient of a Tony Award for 1776 and a Tony nomination for The Grand Tour.  Other Broadway productions include Kiss Me Kate, Annie Get Your Gun, Guys and Dolls, Lend Me A Tenor, and 42nd Street.  He has starred in the national tours of Urinetown, Man of La Mancha, Brigadoon and Lend Me A Tenor.

Eric Jackson (Clarence Norris) has appeared on Broadway in Young Frankenstein and Thoroughly Modern Millie as well as on the national tours of Dreamgirls, Ragtime, Chicago, and Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  He has performed in several productions at Pioneer Theatre Company as well as at Westchester Broadway and Maine State Music Theatre.

Kendrick  Jones (Willie Robeson) appeared in the original Broadway production of The Scottsboro Boys, also as Willie Robeson.  He has also performed in Broadway by the Year, All Singing All Dancing, and Broadway Stars, all at New York City’s Town Hall Theatre, as well as in Stairway to Paradise as part of City Center’s Encore Series and Bubbling Brown Sugar at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre.

Forrest McClendon (Tambo) returns to the role for which he received a Tony nomination for Featured Actor in a Musical.  He is also the recipient of a Barrymore Award for Best Supporting Actor for Avenue X with 11th Hour Theatre Company and a B. Iden Payne Award for Best Actor for The American Play at Zachary Scott Theatre.  Locally he has also appeared at Walnut Street Theatre, The Wilma Theater, Lantern Theatre and People’s Light and Theatre Company.

JC Montgomery (Bones) was part of the original Broadway production of The Scottsboro Boys.  He also appeared on Broadway in Bye Bye Birdie, The Little Mermaid, The Color Purple, Swing, Parade and Smokey Joe’s Cafe.  His regional credits include The Color Purple at Alliance Theatre and Chess at Paper Mill Playhouse as well as television credits with recurring roles in Law and Order and Another World.

Clinton Roane (Roy Wright) appeared in the Broadway production of The Scottsboro Boys.  He has also performed at Lincoln Center in the Harlem Renaissance Festival and in Hello My Baby at Goodspeed Musicals.  He is a graduate of Howard University where he was featured in several productions.

The Scottsboro Boys reunites the original creative team of set designer Beowulf Boritt (Tony nomination for The Scottsboro Boys and Barrymore Award for Art); lighting designer Ken Billington (Tony Award for Chicago and Tony nominations for Sunday in the Park With George and The Drowsy Chaperone); costume designer Toni-Leslie James (Tony and Drama Desk nominations for Jelly’s Last Jam and 2009 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence in Costume Design); and sound designer Peter Hylenski (Tony and Drama Desks nominations for The Scottsboro Boys and Tony nomination for Rock of Ages).  PTC favorite Eric Ebbenga  (Barrymore Award for PTC’s Light in the Piazza and Barrymore nominations for PTC’s Grey Gardens) returns as music director.

Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 2011-2012 season continues with The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham (March 23 – April 22), and reasons to be pretty by Neil LaBute (May 25-June 24), as well as PTC’s annual New Play Festival [email protected] (February 27-March 11) supported by the Knight Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation.

Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company is a leading regional theater company whose mission is to produce, develop and present entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience that both ignites the intellect and touches the soul.  By developing new work through commissions, readings and workshops PTC generates projects that have a national impact and reach broad regional audiences.  Under the leadership of PTC’s Producing Artistic Director Sara Garonzik since 1982 and Managing Director Shira Beckerman, new to the company as of August 2011, PTC supports the work of a growing body of diverse dramatists and takes pride in being a home to many nationally recognized artists who have participated in more than 140 world and Philadelphia premieres.  PTC has received 46 Barrymore Awards and 159 nominations.  In October 2007, PTC moved into a home of its own, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Center City Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, solidifying the Company’s status as a major player on the American theater scene.