#getmyducksinarow  Press

Carnegie Hill Productions and James Spry present


Palisadian Schreiber Honored for Supporting 'Scottsboro Boys'

By Danielle Gillespie, Staff Writer

Pacific Palisades resident Catherine Schreiber received the key to the city of Scottsboro, Alabama, in March for her support of the Scottsboro Boys Museum.

  Last year, Schreiber learned about the Scottsboro Boys when she attended a musical at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. The musical retells the true story of the nine African-American youth who were falsely accused of rape by two white girls in Alabama in 1931. The boys received hasty trials before all-white juries and were sentenced to death or life in prison.

  Their plight received national and international media attention that helped spark the civil-rights movement. The incident also led to landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings, giving defendants the right to effective counsel and a trial that does not exclude jurors by race.

  'It's such a painful subject and John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote such beautiful music,' Schreiber said. 'It was one of the most extraordinary musicals I have ever seen, and Susan Stroman's direction was brilliant.'

  Schreiber (a producer/actress/ writer) immediately decided to become one of the show's producers. She has also produced the Tony-nominated 'Next Fall' and will produce 'The King's Speech,' set to open in London this summer and then on Broadway. As producer, Schreiber invests or recruits investors and promotes the shows.

  Shortly after Schreiber became one of the producers for 'The Scottsboro Boys,' the musical moved from the Guthrie Theater to Broadway, where it ran from October to December. Last week, the show garnered 12 Tony nominations.

  In December, Schreiber organized a panel discussion after one of the performances with Shelia Washington, the founder of the Scottsboro Boys Museum; Garry Morgan, the museum's historian; Lecia Brooks, director of the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Alabama; and Kathy Horton Garrett, the granddaughter of James E. Horton, the judge who risked his life and career when he refused to impose the death sentence on one of the Scottsboro boys. Schreiber paid for the guests, flights, accommodations and food.

   'John Kander said to me that it was one of the highlights of his life,' Schreiber said of the panel discussion. 'That was pretty profound for me 'first, to be working with Kander and then for me to be able to do something that was so meaningful to him.'

  Schreiber then donated money to the Scottsboro Boys Museum and became a lifetime member.

  'I continue to help Shelia Washington give talks around the nation to help the museum and to keep the story alive because it really does affect people,' Schreiber said. 'It really resonates with kids because these boys were just kids themselves ' 12 to 19 years old ' and their lives were destroyed.'

  To honor Schreiber, the Scottsboro City Councilman Matthew Hodges presented her with the key to the city during an 80th anniversary event on March 25, commemorating the date when the Scottsboro Boys were arrested.

  At the event, Schreiber met Eric Arnall, a teacher at Westcott School in Chicago. Arnall showed a video of his students sharing their reactions to the Scottsboro Boys case. Many of his inner-city students live in poverty and have family members in prison.

  Deeply moved by their presentations, Schreiber arranged for eight students and three teachers to see 'The Scottsboro Boys' cast perform songs on Monday at Alice Tully Hall in New York as part of a charity event benefiting the state of Israel.

  She also arranged for the students to watch a video of the musical at the Lincoln Center and to see her new show, 'Desperate Writers,' a comic farce she co-wrote with Joshua Grenrock. In the play, screenwriter Ashley wants to get married and have children, while her lover and screenwriting partner David wants to get his 'ducks in a row' first.

  Schreiber, a Yale graduate whose acting credits include 'Rat Race,' 'Jane Austen Book Club,' and 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,' will also perform in the show, which previewed Monday at the Union Square Theater in New York.

  To advertise her play, Schreiber drags a rubber duck, sporting a 'Desperate Writers' sign, on a leash around the city.

  'People get a big kick out of it, and I give them these little rubber ducks,' Schreiber said. 'I'm the duck lady. It's a little insane; I embarrass my family to no end.'

  With her husband Miles Ruthberg (a partner with Latham & Watkins), she has two children: Jeremy, 19, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, and Stephanie, 22, a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.

  The Westcott students had the chance to meet Schreiber and the rest of her cast after her show.

  'They were very excited and bought rubber ducks for their trip,' she said. 'They put the 'Desperate Writers' signs on them and walked them through the airport.'

Read the Original Article

Pacific Palisades resident Catherine Schreiber received the key to the city of Scottsboro, Alabama, for her support to educate the public about the Scottsboro Boys civil-rights case.

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer