Kander and Ebb’s provocative musical The Scottsboro Boys tells the true story of nine young black men who travelled together on a train through Scottsboro, Alabama in 1931 in search of a new life. By the end of their journey, their lives had been changed forever by the devastating effect of a single lie.
Two white women falsely accused the nine of rape. Even though one of the women later recanted her accusation and in spite of a total absence of evidence, the boys were convicted. Their subsequent trials and appeals, lasting seven years, deeply divided the nation. Their trial led to the passage of two pivotal Supreme Court rulings, including the right to proper legal representation and the right to trial by a jury of one’s peers, specifically ensuring that black people could no longer be excluded from juries.
But back in 1931, behind the screaming headlines, nine young men were desperate to prove to the world that they were human beings and that they mattered.
When The Scottsboro Boys, the final musical written by the team of Kander and Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss Of The Spider Woman), received its premiere in New York in 2010, it was nominated for 12 Tony Awards.
At the Young Vic, where it is again directed by five-time Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, Oklahoma!), it receives its UK premiere.
Looking to see some musical theatre? Find out more about London musicals.