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
North Carolina’s DuPont State Recreational Forest begins phased reopening Western North Carolina’s DuPont State Recreational Forest has begun a phased reopening. During the first reopening phase, access to the forest is limited to areas with “movement-focused” activities,” Mountain Xpress reports, and most of the trail system is open. The forest will be open daily from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. Portable toilets are available, but permanent restrooms will remain closed during phase 1. West Virginia’s state parks and forests will begin reopening to state residents on May 21. Campgrounds will open on May 21 and cabins and lodges will open on May 26. Overnight facilities will only be open to West Virginia residents. Most day-use areas remain open to the public. West Virginia State Park campgrounds open May 21 to West Virginia residents Parking along Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest Road is now prohibitedVisitors to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest should be aware that parking or leaving a vehicle along the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest Road (FSR 416) is now prohibited. This access road to the popular destination is very narrow and has almost no shoulder. Normally there is sufficient parking in the parking lot. The recent increase in visitation has led to roadside parking which creates a hazardous condition for other vehicles that are entering or exiting the parking lot. For more information and to see the closure order on our website click here . The coronavirus pandemic has scaled back economic activities and forced much of the world to stay home. That sudden stop in business as usual has had major impacts on global carbon emissions. An analysis published Tuesday in the journal Nature Climate Change estimates that carbon dioxide emissions around the globe dropped 17 percent compared to daily global averages from 2019. Visitors are asked to comply with social distancing and CDC recommendations and guidelines. Continued public access is contingent upon visitor behavior. “Globally, we haven’t seen a drop this big ever, and at the yearly level, you would have to go back to World War II to see such a big drop in emissions,” Corinne Le Quere, a professor of climate change science at the University of East Anglia in the U.K., and the study’s lead author, told CNN. She points out, however, that “this is not the way to tackle climate change… we need to tackle it by helping people move to more sustainable ways of living.” Amid pandemic, global carbon emissions drop 17 percent “Our first and most important priority at this time is making sure our guests, visitors and staff are safe,” West Virginia State Parks Chief Brad Reed said in a press release. “We want to thank the Governor and our state’s health officials for leading us through this crisis and providing the guidance and resources we need to start reopening our parks and forests.”
MEDIA RELEASE: EUTHANASIA – FREE NEW ZEALAND.Application for a change to New Zealand Law on assisted suicide and euthanasia is not in society’s best interests.“Lecretia Seales is a courageous woman, afflicted with a terrible disease. It is impossible not to be moved by her tragic situation. Yet her application to the High Court for a ruling on whether current N.Z. laws in respect of euthanasia and assisted suicide breach her rights under the Bill of Rights Act, although intended only to relate to her case, will, if successful, in the long run adversely affect the rights of many others in our society” says Professor David Richmond, a spokesperson for Euthanasia-Free New Zealand.“Ms Seales’ request is superficially a simple one based on personal choice and autonomy. Unfortunately the issues are far more complex for society than that”, he said. “Current laws were drawn up to guarantee citizens the right to life. If Ms. Seales’ actions were to lead eventually to the decriminalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide as she apparently hopes they will, citizens will be guaranteed the right to State sanctioned death – presumably at the hands of doctors. Our observation of how these things work in Holland and Belgium where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal does not encourage us to think that significant abuses, including being killed without a specific request, will not occur”, he said. “There are compelling reasons for leaving the law as it is whilst concentrating on providing every care possible to relieve suffering in dying and upholding the dignity of those close to death.”Euthanasia–Free New Zealand hopes that this court action will result in a fresh impetus in our society to uphold the right of every citizen including the most vulnerable of us: the elderly, those with disabilities, the dependent and those near the end of life, to respect, care, support, honour – and life.ENDS
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that Democrats are going to be “relentless” in attacking Republicans for looming ObamaCare premium hikes as Democrats seek to harness the issue for the midterm elections. Schumer pointed to proposals that have been released in recent days showing double-digit premium increases for next year, with insurers citing the GOP repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate among the factors driving up premiums. (Sullivan, 5/8) Democrats Will Make Sure Americans Know ‘Exactly Who Is To Blame’ For Health Law Premium Hikes, Schumer Says Republicans counter, saying Americans are now just seeing the “true costs of a terribly flawed Obamacare health system.” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) wrote in a recent letter that bipartisan efforts to fix ObamaCare have failed and he is now turning to focus on additional actions the Trump administration can take on its own regarding the health-care law. Alexander worked for months with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on a bipartisan effort to provide funding to bring down ObamaCare premiums, but the effort fell apart in March. Alexander, in a letter to supporters sent Monday and obtained by The Hill, said he does not see any path forward for bipartisanship on the issue. (Sullivan, 5/8) Meanwhile — The Hill: GOP Chairman In Talks With Trump Officials On More ObamaCare Actions The Hill: Schumer: Dems Will Be ‘Relentless’ In Attacking GOP For Premium Hikes This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.