The London premiere production of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys, seen at the Young Vic Theatre last year, was named the winner of The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical [new or revival] in this year’s Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, presented Jan. 28 in a ceremony at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
Catherine Schreiber and David Lan of the Young Vic accepted the award on behalf of the cast and Crew of The Scottsboro Boys,
CATHERINE SCHREIBER’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH:
I cannot possibly express how very much this award means to me and the creative team behind The Scottsboro Boys. (But I shall try.) To be honored by the presitigious Critics Circle, the ultimate theatre critics group is humbling and one of the greatest joys of my life, especially this season when there were so many incredible musicals opening in London. The Scottsboro Boys has been my passion for years since I first experienced the glorious music and was devastated and moved to action by its story which was conveyed as only can be conveyed by the brilliantly talented John Kander, Fred Ebb, Susan Stroman and David Thompson.
Thank you members of the Critics Circle for getting it, for appreciating how these artists took one of the greatest tragedies in American history and made audiences laugh and cry and understand and want to make a difference. Thank you to the London theatre audiences for embracing us, for being moved by the injustices done, and for being inspired to give us a standing ovation at every show, which is something I know London audiences do not do lightly.
And thank you to David Lan and the Young Vic for understanding the importance of the show, for doing the magnificent work in theatre that you do, in general, and in particular for giving this show life and its most glorious reincarnation in London. I truly hope that there is a future life for the show here so that more people can see and be moved by it.
In 1932 Ava Wright, the mother of Scottsboro Boys Roy and Andy Wright, came to London to gain international support for her sons. London responded then. Eighty-two years later, London is responding now.
The interplay of theater and history has been truly profound. This past April The Scottsboro Boys Act was finally passed, exonerating the last 8 boys and in November the last three Scottsboro boys were finally pardoned. I was honored to speak when Governor George Bentley of Alabama signed the Act. I am so honored to speak now. How theatre can affect history, make a difference is truly wondrous. On behalf of our incredibly talented cast, our musicians and all those involved in the show who gave their all in this magnificent American-British collaboration, thank you from the bottom of my heart.