American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) is pleased to offer an open captioned performance of The Scottsboro Boys, the critically acclaimed musical based on a tragic chapter in American history, on Saturday, July 21, at 8 p.m., at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Special seats have been reserved for hearing-impaired audience members who would like an optimal view of the digital screen. These tickets (located in the Orchestra section) are $34 per person and available by visiting act-sf.org/scottsboro <http://www.act-sf.org/scottsboro> and entering the code CAPTION or by calling A.C.T. at 415.749.2228.
The use of open captions in theater has gained worldwide attention and support for its ease of integration and program enhancement and has introduced a wave of new audiences to the theater. Open captioning displays text alongside live speech, dialogue, and singing. It does not require patrons to use special equipment for viewing the text. Open captioning services for A.C.T. are provided by Turner Reporting and Captioning Services.
The West Coast premiere of The Scottsboro Boys opened to rave reviews from Bay Area audiences and critics alike. Karen D’Souza of San Jose Mercury News called The Scottsboro Boys “scorching musical theater,” while Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle hailed it as “electrifying!” Nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 2011, The Scottsboro Boys features music and lyrics by the legendary Broadway songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman), book by David Thompson (Steel Pier, Chicago), musical direction by Eric Ebbenga, and direction and choreography by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Contact). Jeff Whiting serves as associate director and choreographer. Tony and Emmy Award winner Hal Linden (Barney Miller, The Rothschilds on Broadway) joins the stellar cast as The Interlocutor.
Based on the notorious Scottsboro trials of the 1930s, The Scottsboro Boys tells the story of nine African American teenagers—ranging from 12 to 19 years old—convicted of raping two white girls on a Southern Railroad freight train while hitching a ride to Memphis in search of employment. Despite the fact that one of the original complainants later denied that any rape had occurred, the nine teenagers were subjected to years of brutal imprisonment, death-sentence verdicts, and a denied appeal. Reclaiming the framework of a minstrel show and “turning the taboo form on its head,” explains Stroman, the musical—through high-energy dance numbers and exuberant music—courageously addresses one of the most abhorrent episodes in American history.
The Scottsboro Boys marks the fourth and final collaboration for John Kander, Fred Ebb, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson. Previous collaborations included the 1987 off-Broadway revival of Flora, The Red Menace, the 1991 off-Broadway production of And the World Goes ’Round, and the 1997 Broadway production of Steel Pier. Looking at famous trials of the 20th century as inspiration, the four were immediately drawn to the compelling story of the Scottsboro Boys trials. Says Kander: “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.”
A.C.T.’s production of The Scottsboro Boys is sponsored by Deloitte and Farella Braun + Martel LLP. The Scottsboro Boys is made possible by executive producers Lesley Ann Clement and Barry Lawson Williams and Lalita Tademy; producers Rose Hagan and Mark Lemley, Marcia and Jim Levy, Terry and Jan Opdendyk, David and Carla Riemer, Bert Steinberg and Lucia Brandon, Lorenzo Thione and David Palmer, and Larry and Robyn Varellas; and associate producers Anne and Jerry Down, Robert Hulteng, Christine and Stan Mattison, Maria and Jeff Spears, and Judy and Bill Timken. A.C.T. would also like to acknowledge its 2011–12 season company sponsors Ray and Dagmar Dolby, Frannie Fleishhacker, Ambassador James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen, Koret Foundation, Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation, Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Mary and Steven Swig, Doug Tilden, and Jeff and Laurie Ubben.
The Scottsboro Boys will play its final performance on Sunday, July 22, 2012, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary St.). Tickets for all remaining performances are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.org <http://www.act-sf.org> or by calling 415.749.2228.
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