Faculty Member Forrest McClendon Earns Tony Nomination for 'The Scottsboro Boys'

Award-winning actor takes home nod for 'Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role' for his portrayal of 'Mr. Tambo' in the acclaimed Broadway musical

Forrest McClendon (right) as "Mr. Tambo" in "The Scottsboro Boys"

May 3, 2011

Barrymore Award-winning actor Forrest McClendon, adjunct assistant professor in the University of the Arts' Ira Brind School of Theater Arts, has been nominated for a 2011 Tony Award for his role in the acclaimed Broadway musical "The Scottsboro Boys."

Moving in and out of characters throughout the show, McClendon earned a nod for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role" for his portrayal of classic side-man "Mr. Tambo," the role he originated in the Off-Broadway production.

"The Scottsboro Boys," which closed last fall after a brief run, took home a total of 12 nominations including "Best Musical." McClendon will compete against fellow cast mate Colman Domingo in the same category.

Directed by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman, the musical was created by the legendary songwriting team of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb ("Cabaret," "Chicago") and is based on the notorious "Scottsboro" case from the 1930s, in which nine African-Americans were unjustly accused of raping two white women on a train in Alabama. The young men were convicted by an all-white jury and spent years in jail while the case was tried and retried.

Variety described the show as "a musical about racial injustice sardonically presented with all the crude stereotypes and vaudevillian humor of a minstrel show," and said that "'The Scottsboro Boys' dares you to be entertained – and you will be – while it makes you squirm."
 
The reviewer described McClendon as slipping "with chameleonic prowess and leering complicity into the oily skins of a series of characters toying with the boys' fates," and the New York Daily News called him "charismatic.

The American Theatre Wing's 65th Annual Tony Awards will air on CBS June 12 at 8 p.m. ET live from the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

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