Shuffle Along or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed starring Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry will premiere at the Music Box Theatre this spring.
This new production details the events surrounding the making of the 1921 play and includes a performance of the play itself. Novelist and director George C. Wolfe and choreographer Savior Glover will collaborate in this production making it their first work together since the 1996 hit Bring in da’ Noise, Bring in da’ Funk.
This 2016 rendition of this Jazz Age hit seeks to give recognition to a musical that altered the face of Broadway and New York City by delving into the story surrounding its making and the changes it left behind. In 1921 after a fund syphoning pre-Broadway tour, Shuffle Along landed at an off-off-off Broadway location at West 63rd street and, like the Depression-era nation, deeply in debt. With competition like Sally and George White’s Scandals failure seemed an unwarranted, yet inevitable conclusion for the underdog production.
To the delighted surprise of the cast and crew, especially songwriting team Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake and librettists F.E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles, the production crawled its way to success and stamped itself into the hearts of such estimable New Yorkers as George Gershwin, Fanny Brice, Al Jolson, Langston Hughes, and renowned critic George Jean Nathan. They repeatedly flocked to West 63rd street to see Shuffle Along (during its 504 performance run) with its cast of Josephine Baker, Paul Robeson, Florence Mills, Fredi Washington, and Adelaide Hall thus yoking the discrepant worlds of Uptown and Downtown.
Shuffle Along Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed will include musical supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Daryl Waters. It will feature costume design by Ann Roth, scenic design by Santo Loquasto, sound design by Scott Lehrer and lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer with Shelton Becton as Musical Director. Produced by Scott Rudin, Shuffle Along Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed will be previewed beginning Monday, March 14, 2016 with opening night set for Thursday, April 21 at the Music Box Theatre (239 West 45th Street).