Following on the heels of this past Sunday’s closing performance of The Scottsboro Boys, the show’s producers are trying something a little different in order to gauge whether or not to bring the short-lived musical back for a return engagement this spring. It was announced today that fans and supporters could pledge to buy a ticket by signing up on the show’s website (which, by the way, has one of the best study guides I’ve seen for a Broadway show). From the results of that drive, they will check to see if the demand is worth the risk.
Barry Weissler went on record today to say:
“We’ve heard from people who told us what a difference The Scottsboro Boys made in their lives – how the show changed their perception of what a Broadway musical can do. We’ve also heard from countess others who have expressed disappointment that they missed seeing the show on Broadway and who were unable to get to us before our untimely closing. In the final two weeks of our run, we also witnessed some of the most extraordinary audience response I’ve experienced in over 40 years of producing theatre. We’ve seen similar passion on our Facebook and Twitter pages and in the audience reviews at our show website.”
“In 1931, the world came together to fight against the terrible injustice that occurred to these nine innocent African American teenagers. Their story has too often been overlooked, but now, almost 80 years later, we’d love nothing more than to keep the story of the Scottsboro Boys alive. Rumors have been circulating about a return limited engagement for The Scottsboro Boys this spring, but we cannot do this without the support of the ticket-buying public. We encourage those who would like to have The Scottsboro Boys return to Broadway to sign up with the intent to purchase tickets for a spring limited engagement. If we can make the numbers work, we will be back.”
Weissler also talked to media outlets about touring the show through various subscription based non-profit theatres around the country, who would provide a built in audience. It’s a risk, but one that I hope the producers take. The new musicals slated for the second half of the year are more traditional musical comedies and revivals. It would be nice to have one serious show from this season (particularly this fall) on the boards around Tony Award time. It’s refreshing to see producers putting so much effort into a show that is clearly very important to them.
I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again – whether or not you like the show is besides the point: if you care about the American musical you’ll want to see The Scottsboro Boys. (I only hope if they make this happen, they are able to keep the cast together). I’ve pledged to buy my ticket. Will you?