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
7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Modern leadership may be as much about authenticity of task or place as it is about what the leader thinks or does, suggests Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones in their book Why Should Anyone Work Here? What It Takes to Create an Authentic Organization.The authors asked people around the world about what their ideal organization would be like — one in which they could be their best selves. The responses grouped naturally around six imperatives: 1. Difference“I want to work in a place where I can be myself and can express the ways in which I’m different.”For many organizations, accommodating differences translates into ‘diversity,’ usually defined in terms of protected characteristics. These are important, but there’s a danger in focusing on them too intently – there’s a difference between recruiting diverse people and allowing them to express their differences. continue reading »
The Census site collapsed under the pressure of millions of Aussies trying to get their details in. Picture: Adam WardTHE results of Australia’s largest ever Census of close to 10 million homes and 24 million people will be released within weeks, according to the government bureau charged with rolling it out.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor8 hours agoThe Australian Bureau of Statistics which oversaw the massive online collapse of the census site as millions of people logged on at the same time, has set April 11 for the first rollout of the data.“Just eight months after Census night, a preview of the 2016 results will be published on the ABS website giving insight into what makes the ‘typical’ Australian in 2016 at the national and state/territory level,” an ABS statement said.The 2016 Census of Population and Housing was conducted on August 9, amid much build-up about how two-thirds of the country were expected to complete their details online.The official release of the full 2016 Census data will be Tuesday June 27 when the comprehensive dataset can be accessed.National, state/territory and capital city data on key “person, family and dwelling characteristics, including age, sex, religion, language and income” will be released then, as well as community level Census data including how your suburb is doing now.
NBA wrap: Raptors knock off defending champion Warriors in OT “On Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, Raptors 905 guard Kay Felder was charged by police in connection with an allegation of domestic violence. Raptors 905 have waived Felder, effective immediately. As this matter is before the courts, Raptors 905 will not comment further,” via ESPN. The Raptors have parted ways with third-year guard Kay Felder, who was recently charged with domestic violence. Felder was playing for Toronto’s G League affiliate, Raptors 905. His former team released this statement regarding the incident on Monday: Felder reportedly choked a woman after the two got in an argument over dinner, and more details will likely be released soon. Related News The 5-foot-8 point guard was fourth in the nation in scoring at 24.2 points per game during his 2015-16 season at Oakland University. He also led the nation in assists that season, averaging 9.3 assists in his junior year. The undersized ball handler showed enough basketball skill to be drafted by the Hawks with the No. 54 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Felder’s 44-inch vertical turned some heads, but he was never able to become an impact player in the league. He has seen only limited playing time in 58 career NBA games, averaging 3.6 points and 1.3 assists per game.Felder probably won’t be playing professional basketball anytime soon, and further investigation will unearth more details on his alleged act of violence.