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Second life after Broadway for touring musicals

By Joel del Turfo, courtesy Delaware Theatre Company

“The Scottsboro Boys,” the Broadway musical that was nominated for a dozen 2011 Tony Awards, including for best musical, even though it had been closed since last fall, will reappear next year on the West Coast.

The same team that created the Broadway show, including director-choreographer Susan Stroman, will present the play April 22-June 3 at the Old Globe in San Diego and June 19-July 15 at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, with a possible national tour to follow.

“The Scottsboro Boys” used the unusual method of the minstrel show to tell the true story of nine black youths who were accused or raping two white women in the Depression-era South.

It was one of the final collaborations between the longtime songwriting team of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb, who also wrote “Chicago,” “Cabaret” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

The biggest show to launch its national tour this year will be “The Addams Family,” which opens Sept. 15 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in New Orleans.

The remaining schedule for this year is the Fabulous Fox Theatre, St. Louis; Ovens Auditorium, Charlotte, N.C.; David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, Fla.; Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami; Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, Orlando, Fla.; Raymond Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Toronto Centre for the Arts; the Proctors Theatre, Schenectady, N.Y.; Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Buffalo, N.Y.; the Cadillac Palace Theatre, Chicago.

The U.S. tour of the Broadway musical “Fela!” will begin this fall at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., Sept. 13-Oct. 9. Tony nominee Sahr Ngaujah will star as the late Nigerian musician activist Fela Kuti, a role he originated on Broadway.

The producers of the upcoming national tour of “Million Dollar Quarter,” which will kick off in October in Cleveland, are going online to find a cast.

Performers can upload a video of an audition song for the roles of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Fans can vote on the songs.

The artist who gets the highest rating and most views will win a trip to New York City to audition for the musical, which re-creates the night of Dec. 4, 1956, when the four rock legends held an impromptu jam session at Sun Records in Memphis, Tenn.

The Broadway Booking Office, which represents touring productions, has announced that “War Horse” will have a separate Toronto company beginning in February and that a national tour is being planned.

“War Horse” is scheduled to appear at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles June 13-July 22, 2012.

Broadway show, both those still on the Great White Way and those that have closed, play in more than 240 cities across North America each year.