Chicago Sun-Times

Hedy Weiss


“… it would not be an exaggeration to say that the entire cast of “The Scottsboro Boys” is brilliant, and together with the vivid direction of Samuel G. Roberson Jr., galvanic choreography by Florence Walker-Harris, fine music direction by Doug Peck, and splendid design (by Andrei Onegin, Richard Norwood and Samantha Jones), this show easily could hold its own alongside “Hamilton.””

“James Earl Jones II, in the most impressive and vocally lush turn of his long and distinguished career)”

“Denzel Tsopnang and Mark J.P. Hood are sensational”

“The bristling Kander and Ebb score (with a biting and at times poetic book by David Thompson), is a stunner, with everything from a jaunty cakewalk and mock minstrel-style numbers and fervent ballads to a powerful chain gang chant set to the rhythmic thrashing of wooden poles.”

“Porchlight recently announced that next season it will move to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts at 1016 N. Dearborn, putting its shows within easy reach of the downtown tourist crowd, and providing greater seating capacity for its expanding Chicago audience. “The Scottsboro Boys” is a perfect example of why it is bound to thrive.”

Behind the Curtain,, Broadway in Chicago Backstage, Comcast Network

Paul Lisnek

“‘The Scottsboro Boys,' while a musical, is poignant, thought-provoking and will indeed give you pause if not make you feel a bit uncomfortable about our history. And that’s a good thing. You will leave wanting to know more and you will owe it to yourself to learn more so that we can continue to grow beyond our prejudices. That’s unusual for a musical to accomplish, but then, Kander and Ebb’s final work together is an unusual and important piece of theatre, not to be missed.”


Chicago Tribune

Chris Jones

"A masterwork...stacked with young talent and surely the product of enormously passionate and heartfelt endeavor..."Scottsboro" contains what might be the most beautiful song (Kander and Ebb) wrote — "Go Back Home," a mournful ballad of longing enough to bring to tears anyone who ever has been away and in trouble."

Alan Bresloff


“Brilliant… The cast of players, however, is why this production shines as bright as it does.”

“I suggest that anyone over the age of 13 get to see this historical tale of prejudice, to learn about the past and of greater import, to make certain that such an event can never take place again.”

“This is a solid production of a solid show with material that will open your eyes, your mind and of course, your heart!”

Larry Bommer


“Porchlight’s uproarious and enchanting Chicago premiere of this Tony-nominated one-act is unimprovably played by a superb 16-member cast and six terrific musicians. It’s shaped to picture-perfect, emotion-accurate glory by stage director Samuel G. Robertson and raised to musical triumph by Doug Peck. But it never forgets the crime it chronicles.”

“There are tears to be jerked in James Earl Jones II’s sweetly sad ballad “Nothin’” and the heart-breaking, homesick chorus “Go Back Home.””

“Richly melodic, enticingly rhapsodic, exuberantly danced (thanks to wizard choreographer Florence Walker-Harris), gorgeous in their harmonies and infectious in their rhythms, “Make Friends with the Truth” and “Never Too Late” are non-negotiably enthralling.”

“No ensemble could enjoy more rapport.”

Tom Williams


Stunning, flawless, and riveting musical drama is a true work of art!

“The large collection of critics roamed the lobby of Stage 773 venue after witnessing a stunning work of art –The Scottsboro Boys – The Musical. It was that collectively we critics seemed to just want to savor and absorb all the vibes from the energy that  The Scottsboro Boys – The Musical produced? That thrilling creation by the creators of Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman so amazed us that we needed to wander around. I have never in my 16 years reviewing Chicago theatre witnessed such behavior by critics. Who says that musical theatre can’t affect even the most jaded reviewer?”

“Kudos to Michael Weber for having the vision to mount “The Scottsboro Boys” – The Musical in its Chicago Premiere and for assembling such a outstanding crew of creative talents to make Porchlight’s production so stunningly powerful.”

“the tasteful sensitivity and the stage craft that director Samuel G. Roberson, Jr. and his staff brought to the material? Once  you see The Scottsboro Boys – The Musical, you’ll realize that it plays as one of the “greatest” (I seldom use that term but it fits here!) musicals mounted on a Chicago stage.  In my 16+ years and almost 4,500 shows reviewed, this is one of my  cherished nights at the theatre. This work is both visionary and controversial but it is tasteful and empathetic.”

“Each of these ‘boys’ were nicely developed throughout with James Earl Jones, Jr (doing his finest work yet seen in Chicago) as the boy’s leader in defiance and as a smooth singer of the haunting song  “Makes Friends With the Truth” as he refused to plead guilty for something he didn’t do. Jones led the talented dancers/actors.”

“The Scottsboro Boys” – The Musical works as fine story telling; as a fine  song and dance piece and as fine tribute to the strength of the human spirit as exhibited by the nine brave boys. This show is a masterpiece. It is the finest musical I’ve ever seen by Porchlight!

Katy Walsh


Must See!

I was enthralled with Director Samuel G. Roberson, Jr.’s vision. He rolled the train onto the stage and his talented ensemble climbed out.”

“Always a musical powerhouse, Jones leads the soulful unrest. His solo “Nothin'” has an echoing ache not easily forgotten.”



Kevin Greene


““The Scottsboro Boys” is an act of reclamation.”

"Of all the excellent voices, heard frequently in solo and in harmony, James Earl Jones II’s has the polish of Broadway. Stephen Allen Jr. (returning to Porchlight after his turn as Benny in “In The Heights”) and the young Cameron Goode bring all the glory of a Sunday morning with voices that stretch to the heavens before tumbling down gracefully to the reality of the god-fearing South.”

“The impact of “The Scottsboro Boys” lands like a heavy thud against the locked doors of oppression."


Chicago Reader

Albert Williams


“Porchlight Music Theatre's Chicago premiere features a superb ensemble under the direction of Samuel G. Roberson Jr., with period-style choreography by Florence Walker-Harris and Breon Arzell and first-rate musical direction by Doug Peck.”


Talkin’ Broadway

John Olson

“This recipient of 12 Tony Award nominations is, as reported, a significant work—detailing with clarity and emotion the societal outrage and human catastrophe this case represented.”

“It's enough to have one more vintage song from the creators of so many great musicals.”

“Porchlight has hired a perfect cast and creative team to rise to the challenges of this piece.”

“Larry Yando, who again displays his ability to project menace behind charming facades. We've seen him in such roles as Scrooge, The Lion King's Scar, and Richard Nixon and one couldn't imagine a better choice for the Interlocutor...”

“Patterson is played and sung magnificently here by James Earl Jones II. Jones absolutely kills with the beautiful "Go Back Home," as well as the comic "Make Friends with the Truth" and the anthemic "You Can't Do Me." The remaining eight are no slouches, but other than Jos N. Banks (who gets to double, impressively, as accuser Victoria Price), they don't get a lot of individual time. They all make an impressive ensemble, though, being kept busy by the high-stepping and distinctive choreography by Florence Walker-Harris and associate choreographer Breon Arzell. There's an impressive step choreography number for a chain gang scene that I presume is mainly Arzell's contribution, given that he won a Jeff award last year for the step dancing in Oracle Theatre's production of The Hairy Ape.”

“something wonderful. A heartfelt moment, an incident that angers, or a classic song in the distinctive voices of Kander and Ebb...and is performed here with consummate professionalism.

Sarah Bowden


“excellent performances and several cutting images, alongside a real-life miscarriage of justice that speaks to contemporary problems in the justice system.”

“Jones as Haywood shines as the voice of righteous fury in “The Scottsboro Boys.” His early testimony number, “Nothin’,” provides both the requisite politeness required of him in court, but is performed with enough of a sneer that the audience is in on the injustice.”

Alexis Bugajski


“Heywood Patterson is the most prominent Scottsboro boy.  His story how the supposed justice system failed him. James Earl Jones II plays Patterson with such gumption it feels like he is putting every ounce of fight within him into his character.”

“The rest of the cast also has their shining moments. They can harmonize and blend like none other.. Mark J.P. Hood as Mr Tambo almost steals the show with his over-the-top comedic styling and ability to seamlessly shift and change into multiple characters.”

“This story is one that should be told. This is the world we are living in today— a world in which people still have to worry how the color of their skin will determine how they are treated. “The Scottsboro Boys” highlights everything that is still wrong about  racial justice today. The fight is not over.  One day the truth will hopefully prevail.”