Thursday, March 11, 2010


I saw a show last night that made me weep for what we are today -- "Scottsboro Boys."

A woman, whom we don't know (till the end of the play) remembers the story of the Scottsboro boys, nine teenage blacks who were accused of raping two white women. Back in thirties, they were tried, found guilty, and re-tried many times -- given death sentences, spent years in jail that destroyed their lives.

What Matthew Yglesias in his "Daily Beast" blog, "Here Come the Racists," said, (I read it a few times) rings loud and clear, as I recover today from the experience last night. The musical which sings and dances the story marvelously, tells the tale that hasn't been told for a while, tells us where we are right now in a way that no one has said much about -- except, perhaps Yglesias (and me, in posts on my blog, fearful that we are inspiring someone to be an assassin and kill Barack Obama.)

The infliction of pain, cruelty, the demeaning of blacks -- it's sickening --it's sad for America the Beautiful to become a nation that destroys its people.

"The Scottsboro Boys" -- music by John Kander and lyrics by the late Fred Ebb is ... wow ... toe-tapping, poignant, evocative, memorable.

The book by David Thompson is wow ... It penetrates, and makes you laugh, and cry. Kander and Ebb and Thompson's collaboration produced a minstrel show -- a perfect metaphor, ultimately in black face, which is ... wow ... right on the money dramatically.

The play on the stage wipes me out. Perhaps because I am guilty -- we are guilty, and we haven't cried for the Blacks, probably can never shed enough tears for them. And find a way to embrace them for giving us good men -- more and more every year -- educated, articulate, practical, trustworthy reliable, loving good men -- teachers, politicians, and a leader like the President.

The cast of "Scottsboro Boys" -- each one is a name to remember, thanks to Director Susan Stroman's careful casting and knowledge of dance and drama. All of them dance (with flexibility, rhythm, footwork, dynamic intensity, exciting unison) and yet they are individuals. The cast is ... wow ... as is the way Stroman collaborated with Kander and Thompson, and the designers (set, props, costumes, lights, sound) and made the musical into entertainment and drama.

Matthew Yglesias -- your blog is so right on about where we are in terms of ugly racial hatred, our confused predilection for helping Blacks, compensating them for the past, while destroying them, undermining them, attacking the White House.

I hope this musical gets seen by the world.
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