To close out this high school theater season, Holly Stanfield, an Educational Theatre Association Hall of Fame member, is bringing “The Scottsboro Boys” to the Bradford High School stage.
The Broadway musical is based on the infamous trials that started in 1931 in Alabama.
Chris Carter, a professional actor and choreographer, is directing the show. Stanfield is the show’s producer and vocal director.
In addition to local students, the cast features three professional actors/mentors — Braxton Molinaro, Denzel Tsopnang and David Murray.
Murray and Molinaro are Bradford graduates who performed in shows together as students.
“Scottsboro Boys” is a reunion for them. The two are professional actors — Murray in New York; Molinaro in Los Angeles — and welcomed the chance to come home for the show.
For Murray, this is also the first time he’s performing on stage with his younger brother, Ben Woods, a senior at Bradford.
Murray jokes that he’s back for “the three B’s — Ben, Braxton and Bradford. And for Holly; she’s a gem and a real leader in high school theater. I also get to see my family and see my brother graduate from high school.”
Director Carter — who also has another show, “A Chorus Line,” on stage with Chicago’s Porchlight Theatre Company — is thrilled to be working on his first show in Kenosha.
“I do passion projects,” he said. “I don’t take on anything I don’t believe in, and I really believe in this show.
“I love the students here, and it’s like seeing a bunch of little me’s in this show. It’s wonderful to see African-American boys in theater, and I hope this will encourage more people of color to come out and audition for shows.”
“The Scottsboro Boys” was written by David Thompson, with music and lyrics by Broadway legends John Kander and Fred Ebb of “Cabaret” and “Chicago” fame.
Susan Stroman directed and choreographed the show, which debuted Off-Broadway and then moved to Broadway in 2010.
The show is based on the so-called “Scottsboro Boys” case. It started in 1931, when nine young black men were taken off a train in Alabama and accused of raping two white women. After several years of convictions, death sentences and imprisonment, the nine were eventually vindicated.
Read more about this show in Thursday’s GO Kenosha entertainment section in the Kenosha News.