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Last login: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
"....The cast of “The Scottosboro Boys” is mostly black. But the principal creators – director, producers, writers, and composer - are all white, a fact that’s also drawn criticism."
I would like to make two points. First, it is true that none of the TSB principals were Black, but as one of three African-Americans on the original Broadway producer team for TSB, we have to begin where we. As you know, a fraction of a fraction of Broadway (and Hollywood) productions have African-American principals. However, this current Broadway season made history. Two near/ all-black casts in Porgy & Bess and Streetcar. Three black playwrights in Katori Hall (Mountaintop), Suzan Lori-Parks (adaptation of Porgy & Bess), and Lydia Diamond (Stick Fly). Kenny Leon directed not one, but two Broadway premieres (Mountaintop and Stick Fly). Two black Lead Producers in Alicia Keyes (Stick Fly) and Stephen Byrd (Streetcar). Two seasons ago, Mr./Mrs. Will & Jada Smith and Mr./Mrs. Jay-Z & Beyonce were producers (not leads) on Fela. As African-Americans' interest in and ability to financially support theater increases, undoubtedly we will see more African-American principals. Spike Lee did it in Hollywood with Malcolm X years ago, Tyler Perry is doing it "Off-Broadway" and in Hollywood as well.
Second, just as Stephen Byrd has every right to lead produce two classic Tennessee Williams plays with all/near black casts, Kander, Ebb, & Stroman have every right to lead develop and produce a show like TSB. I was invited by a Lead Producer to join the team, and I did, because the most important factor in me joining was that TSB effectively entertained the truth about a terrible period in our American past that still lingers today. Change will only come if people, individuals change.
May 8, 2012 at 8:07 a.m.
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