All tagged The Scottsboro Boys
A while back, I wrote a piece about flop musicals that deserved a second chance on Broadway. Many of you wrote to me and wondered why I hadn’t mentioned any recent shows. When I write about this kind of topic, I typically look at older titles and prefer to wait for the dust to settle on more recent shows in order to gain some objectivity. This does not mean I haven’t enjoyed some of the short-lived shows of the last decade. It may be too soon to say that any of them deserve revivals, but I think it is fair to say that some of them deserve a second look. So, as to assuage those who think I’m trapped in the past, here are 10 for 10, ten musicals from the last ten years that I think had plenty to offer and most likely deserve a second look.
I don’t always agree with the critics, and I sometimes don’t agree with audiences. Where musicals are concerned, I am often surprised at what pieces are embraced and what pieces are rejected. Occasionally, I find a musical where, despite how the masses are feeling about it, I am at odds with their tastes. Here are ten musicals where my delight was at odds with critics and ticket buyers.
Every once and a while, a musical comes along that stirs up the pot, shocking us with its audacity to speak the truth. In recent years, musicals such as Hamilton, Next to Normal, The Scottsboro Boys, and Fun Home come to mind as examples of musicals that were not afraid to look societal and artistic norms in the face and thumb their nose as what is comfortable or conventional. This was done in-an-effort to cast some light on overlooked subject matter, issues that demanded a new perspective, or inconvenient truths that may have been glossed over. It might be hard to believe, but musical theatre has typically been at the forefront of performance mediums in addressing controversial topics. In fact, Finian's Rainbow, which opened on Broadway in 1947 (and celebrated the 70th Anniversary of that premiere on January 10th), may have been one of the nerviest of all Broadway productions. It subversively confronted race issues by addressing bigotry, head-on, and by taking steps within its production to demonstrate active change. Finian's Rainbow was (and remains to be) one of Broadway's bravest shows.
Last week, there was an interesting discussion and debate on the Cast Recordings Facebook page over an article titled Twelve Cast Recordings That Will Change Your Life. There was a lot of back and forth over the piece since it mostly discussed newer musicals and one film soundtrack and seemed to dismiss almost everything in the pre-Rent era. There is nothing wrong in having your life changed by newer cast recordings. Indeed, musical theatre would be a very limited genre if we established some sort of cutoff point for musicals worthy of our attentions. The piece was obviously written by someone young and enthusiastic and it's easy to see how he'd be attracted to the contemporary pieces of his lifetime. That being said, the article was titled "Cast Recordings that will Change YOUR Life", so the author makes the egregious assumption that all of us will be taken with the titles he mentions. This proved not to be so when a variety of enthusiasts weighed in and admonished the absence of many classic titles on this list.