Brandon Victor Dixon Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple) was center stage in the original New York production of the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical The Scottsboro Boys in 2010, only to miss out on the show’s subsequent Broadway transfer and acclaimed 2013 London premiere at the Young Vic. Now he has returned to the starring role of Haywood Patterson—one of nine young black Americans accused of raping two white women in 1930s Alabama—for the show’s West End transfer, currently in previews at the Garrick Theatre. It’s an emotional homecoming—since last appearing in the musical, Alabama has granted posthumous pardons to three of the real-life “boys,” Dixon’s character included. Broadway.com caught up with Dixon to talk musicals that matter, mixing acting with producing, and what it might take to get him to stay in London.They say you can’t go home again, but you clearly have!Yes, I did all the readings and then the Vineyard production [off-Broadway] so it feels wonderful to come home and finish the other leg of our journey. I always thought from my knowledge of London theater and the audiences here that they would appreciate a truly genius piece of theatrical work.I assume conflicts elsewhere kept you from the show’s British premiere last fall at the Young Vic?I was in Motown [on Broadway] at the time but I’ve always been aware of each production of Scottsboro no matter where it’s happening. We’re all a family by this point.What is it like to reprise something from four years ago? Is your sense memory kicking in?In all honesty, this has been a wonderful experience but also a complicated one. I’ve never gone back to do a role again. Also, because some of our cast are from the Young Vic and some from Broadway, and some are new and some from the original, we’ve had to find a throughline so that we’re all operating from the same world.is it gratifying be reminded of a musical that is willing to take such risks in its depiction of a shameful chapter in American race relations?I just think this is a remarkable piece, not just in terms of its atypical subject matter, which is pretty much in the wheelhouse of Kander and Ebb, but the way in which they and [book writer] David Thompson and [director/choreographer] Susan Stroman managed to take this unknown but incredibly significant story and communicate the realities and circumstances of the times while putting it through a framework which is entertaining but also challenging.You mean the minstrel show format?Yes, which means that people can’t just watch [the production], they have to feel it; I think it’s an incredibly effective construction.Haywood is a remarkable figure in that he refused throughout to confess his guilt in order to gain parole.He’s the final straw that won’t break. In order to be pardoned, the other boys had to plead guilty, which Haywood wouldn’t do, so he is the one character who never makes it out of prison. It’s as if he is saying, “You’ve taken so much from me as a person and as a human being, that I won’t allow you that power over me.” He refuses to let anyone change or compromise who he is.Did you know a lot about this event before you first came to this show?I did not. I had to research the story to discover who these people were only to find that it was such a monumental moment in world history and nobody knew about it. My brother is a lawyer and he had studied the case in law school because it set a lot of legal practice but people for the most part are not educated about these kinds of stories in our history.And as recent history has shown, we’re not entirely out of the woods yet.Of course not. As much as things in America like segregation and Jim Crow have been abolished, the mentality that framed those things has not, so to that extent our show isn’t about Alabama—or racism in Alabama—as much as it’s about a mode of thinking that can become systemic in a society. And systems sometimes take longer to change than people do.You say that you’d always thought British audiences would get Scottsboro —have you spent time here?Yes, a friend and I were on the BADA [British American Drama Academy] program here at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1999, the year I turned 18. I used to shoot up to London to see theater and I still have an uncle who lives in Dollis Hill.You’re also a producer with two Broadway credits [Hedwig and Of Mice and Men]. How did that come about?I think from wanting as full an understanding of the production as possible, which means executing your lines and knowing who your character is but also how does my work fit into the context as a whole? My business partner Warren Adams and I formed our company WalkRunFly as part of what felt like a logical progression: if you want to execute things to your satisfaction, then you want to have as much control as you can. That leads to helping create work for others, not just yourself.They say one in seven Broadway shows pays back, but both of yours were hits!Frankly, some of those seven shows shouldn’t be on Broadway. For my money, there really are some ideas that are terrible ideas, so with regard to that one-in-seven success rate, you could argue that half of those should never have been produced.Might you return to Motown when the musical crosses the ocean to London next year?[Laughs.] We shall see, Matt, we shall see. Treat me nice, and I’ll stick around. View Comments Star Files
Nairobi: The World Athletics inspection team will be in Nairobi next week to scrutinize the organizational structures and work progress ahead of this year’s World U-20 Championships. This will be the third visit by the World Athletics. World Athletics’ executive director of communications Jackie Brock-Doyle and head of event operations Toni Jorba will be in Nairobi to check on renovation work and laying of tartan at Kasarani Stadium, the venue of the championships, which will start from July 7. Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jack Tuwei said on Monday that the team’s visit will focus on the work done by the Local Organizing Committee, one year since their last show, where they met then Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echessa and other top government officials.“A strong delegation from World Athletics is due in Nairobi for inspection. It is a big team of about 25 delegates. They arrive in the country on February 11. They will be here on February 12-13 to meet the Organizing Committee. We have done much so far in preparing for their tour,” Tuwei said.World Athletics Council’s session in July in Buenos Aires picked Nairobi as the host city of the next World Athletics U-20 Championships.Kenya won the bid following a largely successful World U-18 Championships held in 2017 with a record turnout of over 60,000 fans attending.However, the curse of doping threatens to taint the most successful nation in track and field.More than 60 elite runners, including Rio Olympic marathon winner Jemima Sumgong and 1,500m three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop, have been suspended for doping. AgenciesAlso Read: India condemns Nairobi hotel attackAlso Watch: This Human-Elephant friendship from Manas National Park will leave you in awe
THIS WEEKEND ON AM-1300 KGLO:= FRIDAYPostponed — Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit= SATURDAY12:30 pre-game, 1:10 first pitch — Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit6:30 pre-game, 7:00 faceoff — NCAA men’s hockey national championship — Minnesota-Duluth vs. Massachusetts= SUNDAY12:30 pre-game, 1:10 first pitch — Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit IOWA CITY — Iowa freshman guard Joe Wieskamp announced Thursday that he has submitted paperwork for entry into the 2019 NBA Draft in order to test the process.Wieskamp plans to go through the process without an agent. Student-athletes wishing to return to school can do so by withdrawing from the draft by May 29.Wieskamp says his dream has always been to play in the NBA, and he wants to do everything he can to turn that dream into a reality whenever that may be. He says he’s excited to gain feedback and learn from the process.Wieskamp, a native of Muscatine, ranked fourth in team scoring (11.1 ppg), second in rebounding (4.9 rpg), and third in steals (31). One of five players voted to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, he ranked second in the Big Ten in 3-point accuracy (.424, 59-of-139), which ranks second all-time among Iowa freshmen behind Jake Kelly (.435, 30-of-69).Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery says Wieskamp should take advantage of the opportunity and that they fully support his decision. He says the rule is a positive one for those in pursuit of their professional careers. McCaffery says they’ve had players in the past go through the process, all of whom found it beneficial in gathering information through workouts and interviews from NBA personnel, and that they’ll assist Wieskamp throughout the process. MASON CITY — North Iowa Bulls associate head coach Kevin Murdock has been hired to be the new head coach of the Kenai River Brown Bears of the North American Hockey League. Murdock spent three years with the Bulls program, helping the Bulls to 119 regular season and post-season wins. More than 40 Bulls players and alumni in the last three years have moved on to college and NAHL programs, including several who have reached the NCAA Division I ranks. Murdock was named on Thursday as the Alaska-based hockey team’s new head coach, taking over for Josh Petrich, who spent two years as the Brown Bears’ head coach. MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have postponed their series opener against the Detroit Tigers because of wintry weather, opting for a doubleheader next month.The Twins announced Thursday afternoon they were calling off Friday night’s game, a decision made about 28 hours before the scheduled first pitch. The region was blanketed by wet snow, heavy winds and icy roads. The storm was forecast to move out before Friday night, but the temperature was predicted to be in the mid-30s.With dry but chilly afternoons on tap for Saturday and Sunday, when the two teams are also set to play, the Twins rescheduled the Friday game for May 11 in the form of a split day-night doubleheader. The Tigers were already scheduled for a three-game visit to Target Field that weekend.The Twins (6-4) were off Thursday, and the weather handed them a sixth day off over the first 16 days of the season, the most in the major leagues. Michael Pineda was scheduled to start Friday, opposite Daniel Norris of the Tigers (8-5).Last season, a mid-April snowstorm in Minnesota wiped out three straight games for the Twins against the Chicago White Sox, and the Twins had four postponements over their initial 10-game homestand. IOWA CITY — The Iowa Hawkeye baseball team opens a three game Big Ten series at Purdue tonight. The Hawkeyes are 5-4 in the league race and take on a Purdue team that has lost four straight in conference play. Iowa coach Rick Heller says the conditions will be good for the Boilermakers.With cold conditions and the wind blowing in runs should be at a premium.Iowa is 18-13 overall. MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As the Minnesota Timberwolves wound down the second half of their schedule that was as dull as the first part was dramatic, they were outspoken in their desire to establish a healthier and steadier environment. They’re determined to confine the 2019-20 excitement to contention for the playoffs, not off-the-court issues. After their first postseason appearance in 14 years in 2017-18, the Timberwolves were absent again this spring. The top offseason priority will be hiring a new basketball boss. NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Liberty acquired guard Tanisha Wright from Minnesota on Thursday in a deal that also included Las Vegas and Atlanta.The Liberty sent their second-round pick in the 2020 draft to the Lynx in exchange for guard Tanisha Wright. New York also sent guard Sugar Rogers to Las Vegas for the Aces’ second round pick in 2020, and the Aces traded Nia Coffey to Atlanta.Wright averaged 4.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists for Minnesota last year. She spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons with New York after 10 years with Seattle. MASON CITY — Mason City High senior Dawson Wedeking has signed to play baseball at NIACC. Wedeking says he chose to become a Trojan because he was able to watch the team the last few years.Wedeking hopes he can contribute right away to the NIACC squad.NIACC coach Travis Hergert says he’s excited about Wedeking offensively and says he’ll be a hard worker.Wedeking in his junior season hit .292 with two homers and 18 runs batted in. He had a .410 on-base percentage with a .458 slugging percentage.