Ben Martin’s Event Journal

Wednesday May 29, 2013 / 8:00pm (Opening Night)
The Scottsboro Boys
2 tickets

How was your experience?

Clear I hated it I didn't like it It was OK I liked it I loved it!
Some of the performances are quite good, and a couple of choreographic numbers worked (although I'm becoming tired of the omnipresent back-flips and cartwheels that Broadway choreographers seem to put into every one of their shows. It has become a cliche.) However, framing the production as a minstrel show seriously diminishes its emotional impact. The story of the Scottsboro Boys is material for an opera -- or an operatic musical along the lines of "Les Miserables." The Kander and Ebb theatrical conceit left me cold; frankly, I didn't give a hoot about any of the characters. What should have been a powerful emotional experience was, for me, sometimes amusing but generally unengaging. I found myself checking the program, wondering how many more musical numbers I'd have to sit through. Driving home, my wife commented that she couldn't remember a single song from the show. I was extremely disappointed, moreover, with the quality of the sound; it was terribly muddy. At the beginning of the show, and many times throughout, I was unable to understand many of the lyrics and much of the dialogue. With the current state of sound technology, clarity should no longer be a problem. It is possible that the sound designer didn't check his work in various sections of the house (I sat in the 4th row of the mezzanine). Technical problems aside, however, many of the performers swallow their words; and no amount of amplification will help that. All in all, I found this an eminently forgettable experience.