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Celebrating Black History Month: SHUFFLE ALONG Shuffles to Broadway in 2016

Shuffle Along starred Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon, Joshua Henry, Billy Porter, Adrienne Warren, and more!

This February, BroadwayWorld is committed to celebrating the outstanding contributions that black artists have made to the American theatre. Join us for Black History month as we shine a spotlight on some of the most influential productions from Broadway's past. Today is all about Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Today we rewind to 2016, when Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed was celebrating its ten Tony nominations. The musical, directed by George C. Wolfe, played for 100 performances at the Music Box Theatre and starred Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon, Joshua Henry, Billy Porter, Adrienne Warren, and Brooks Ashmanskas.

Based on the original book of the 1921 musical revue Shuffle Along, the story focuses on the challenges of mounting the original production of Shuffle Along and its effect on Broadway and race relations.

In May 1921, the new musical Shuffle Along became the unlikeliest of hits, significantly altering the face of the Broadway musical as well as that of New York City. By the time Shuffle Along stumbled into town after a back-breaking pre-Broadway tour, it was deeply in debt and set to open at a remote Broadway house on West 63rd Street. In a season full of spectacles, such as Sally - a Ziegfeld musical - and another edition of George White's Scandals, Shuffle Along's failure was almost a foregone conclusion. New York City was still in the throes of the Depression of 1920. And despite being celebrated vaudeville performers, Miller and Lyles and Sissle and Blake had never performed on Broadway, much less written a musical. But with an infectious jazz score and exuberant dancing, Shuffle Along ignited not just Broadway but all of New York City. George Gershwin, Fanny Brice, Al Jolson, Langston Hughes, and famed critic George Jean Nathan were among the many fans who repeatedly flocked to West 63rd Street to see a cast which - during its run of 504 performances - featured such incipient luminaries as Josephine Baker, Paul Robeson, Florence Mills, Fredi Washington, and Adelaide Hall. Because of Shuffle Along, Uptown and Downtown met and became one.

Watch scenes from the musical below!


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