Monday, November 8, 2010

NY Times-Minstrel Show In The Scottsboro Boys Musical Incites Anger

Protesters outside of the Lyceum Theater in NY, home of the new "Scottsboro Boys" musical: Brett England
(Story reported by Patricia Cohen for the NY Times)

A group of about 30 people gathered on Saturday afternoon in front of the Lyceum Theater to protest a matinee of the new Broadway musical “The Scottsboro Boys,” which retells the story of nine African-Americans between 12 and 19 who were falsely convicted of raping two white women in Alabama in 1931. The show, written by the celebrated team of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb and directed by the Tony-winning director Susan Stroman, uses the minstrel tradition to tell the story of how racism infected the judicial system.

The protesters, organized by the Freedom Party, argued that the use of minstrelsy and blackface were racist. Ms. Stroman said she was disappointed that people who probably had not seen the musical misunderstood that the creators were not celebrating the minstrel tradition but rather using it to reveal the evils of the system.

“The trials were treated as if the boys were in a minstrel show” because it was such a farce, she said of the production. “The actors actually deconstruct the device in front of the audience,” and in the end, rebel against it.

(Click here to read the full story on the NY Times website.)

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