Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-02-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW The Scottsboro Boys
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2017-02-15

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, book by David Thompson. At: Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $45-$51. Runs through: March 12

The real-life story related in our play is of how nine African-American teenagers, one day in 1931, all happened to be freight-hopping on the same Chattanooga-to-Memphis train. Their discovery and arrest revealed two more illegal passengers on board—white women, who accused the colored men of raping them. Despite evidence of the latter's innocence, regional justice mandated a guilty verdict, repeated in several appeals over the next six years, while drawing national attention to the prisoners facing an uncertain future on Death Row.

This dark chapter in our nation's history would appear an unlikely premise for musical comedy, but hitmakers John Kander and Fred Ebb, having earlier in their career successfully depicted the Nazi Invasion and prohibition-era Gangland Corruption as razzle-dazzle extravaganzas, decided the time was ripe in 2006 for an account of racial atrocities framed in the conventions of an old-time blackface Minstrel Show.

Audience demographics have changed over the intervening decades, however, and in 2017, not even a pious denouement meant to inject a note of self-righteous distance into the grin-and-shuffle stage picture can prevent this one-note concept emerging the most cringeworthy exercise in bad taste since Stephen Dolginoff's Thrill Me.

To be sure, playgoers repelled by nearly two intermissionless hours of Kander and Ebb's faux-naif iconography can focus on the scholarly aspects of this once-popular period entertainment whose conventions are preserved chiefly in print images, forcing the actors in this Porchlight Music Theatre revival to deliver their patter in tableau mode, effectively stifling any comic phrasing likely to elicit laughs. You can also suspend your enlightened moral sensibilities and revel in a score reflecting Broadway fashions of a decade ago, performed by a muscular-voiced and agile-footed cast who discharge their duties with unflinching alacrity, whether tapping energetically as prison guards playfully engage in terrifying a child with threats of imminent execution in the electric chair, or extolling the advantages of "Jew Money" in a stroll-tempo ballad.

The talent and industry invested by Porchlight's production company is certainly to be commended. That said, though, would-be composers inspired by its success to embark on such prospective song-and-dance pageants as, say, The Emmett Till Follies or Maine Coon Cats, are advised that if satire ( as George S. Kaufman once observed ) is what closes on Saturday night, the shelf life of irony is considerably shorter.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater to present the World Premiere of Queen 2017-02-24 - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater continues its 42nd season with the World Premiere of Queen, written by Madhuri Shekar and directed by Joanie ...


Gay News

Sonny Apollo: From homelessness to successful artist 2017-02-22 - "One of the first things you have to learn is that you can't base your life on other people's expectations." Musician Stevie Wonder ...


Gay News

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Gender Breakdown a collaborative look at theater 2017-02-22 - There's an old adage that too many cooks spoil the soup. Others would argue the opposite, especially when it comes to the vital ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Sweeney Todd 2017-02-22 - Music and Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim; Book: Hugh Wheeler. At: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. Tickets: 630-896-6666 or ParamountAurora.com; $44-$59. Runs through: ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Straight White Men 2017-02-22 - Playwright: Young Jean Lee. At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: $20-$89. Runs through: March 19 They are so ubiquitous ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW By the Bog of Cats 2017-02-22 - Playwright: Marina Carr. At: Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand Ave. Tickets: $28-$32. Runs through: March 26 Euripides wasn't the first to recount ...


Gay News

Theater Spotlight on Nameless Mountains, Critics' Picks 2017-02-22 - Theater Spotlight Megan Donahue's world-premiere play Nameless Mountains, for Accomplice Theatre, makes a point that LGBTQ people can be found throughout history. At ...


Gay News

Alex Newell heads 'Love Is Love Is Love' benefit concert 2017-02-21 - Recording artist and actor Alex Newell—who played Unique Adams on the Fox show Glee—joined Chicago theatwe artists at a Valentine's Day-themed event, "Love ...


Gay News

Northlight Theatre announces 43rd Season 2017-02-21 - Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, announces its 43rd season, opening with the ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Unseen 2017-02-21 - Playwright: Mona Mansour. At: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: 773-283-7071; TheGiftTheatre.org; $30-$40. Runs through: April 9 ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.