Sunday, December 12, 2010
The Scottsboro Boys and a haunting "Go Back Home"
Tonight at the Lyceum Theatre, The Scottsboro Boys concludes its too-brief Broadway run after 78 performances.
I saw the musical from a spot where I'd never sat before: the middle of the front row, right behind the conductor, Paul Masse. (Sorry again if I accidentally kicked you while I was trying to stretch my legs!)
Honestly, that seat was a little too cramped and it probably would have been better to be a little farther back. But I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
It really struck me how lucky I was to be sitting so close when I heard "Go Back Home," a haunting, lyrical ballad that took my breath away.
I thought, I'm listening to a new song from Kander and Ebb. This is what it must have been like during Golden Age, when you hear a song performed for the first time on Broadway and you know it'll become a classic.
I hope that happens with "Go Back Home." Joshua Henry and 12-year-old Jeremy Gumbs are spellbinding and heartbreaking.
I've written about my disappointment with the musical's closing. It tells a compelling American story about nine young black men and boys unjustly accused of a crime in the 1930s South. I thought it was tuneful, powerful, thought-provoking and entertaining in the best sense of the word.
I know there's talk about a tour, or bringing the show back for a brief stint in the spring, before the Tony awards. Whether that happens or not, I hope Tony voters don't forget The Scottsboro Boys and its superb cast. I know I never will.