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VIDEO: SHUFFLE ALONG's Audra McDonald Thanks Contributors To Covenant House's Sleep Out

Though Audra McDonald is best known to theatre fans for astounding acting and singing performances that have earned her a record six Tony Awards for acting, including awards in all four of the acting categories, she is also a tireless advocate for New York City's children through her work as a board member for Covenant House.

In a video posted last night on Facebook, she thanks those who donated to her participation in that evening's Covenant House Sleep Out, a fundraising event where volunteers spend the night sleeping on a city street in an act of solidarity with homeless kids.

Covenant House's origins go back to the late1960s, when Rev. Bruce Ritter and Father James Fitzgibbon moved into a dilapidated tenement building in New York City's East Village and, along with a handful of friends, former students, and neighbors, began an effort to serve the city's poor.

Currently under the leadership of Kevin Ryan, Covenant House served more than 56,000 homeless kids last year, giving them the love and support they need to find their way off of the streets.


Broadway audiences will get to enjoy the talents of Audra McDonald once more in Shuffle Along Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, director/bookwriter George C. Wolfe's new musical inspired by the groundbreaking production that introduced Broadway to the songs of Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle.

Posted by Audra McDonald on Thursday, November 19, 2015

SHUFFLE ALONG will mark the first time that writer/director George C. Wolfe and choreographer Savion Glover have worked together since their 1996 hit Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk. Previews will begin Monday, March 14, 2016. Opening night is Thursday, April 21, 2016 at the Music Box Theatre (239 West 45th Street).

SHUFFLE ALONG Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed will have music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Daryl Waters. The production will feature scenic design by Santo Loquasto, costume design by Ann Roth, sound design by Scott Lehrer, and lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer. Shelton Becton will be the Musical Director.

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 yet 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, unforgettable 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.

The 2016 Shuffle Along Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed brings the original show back to glorious life, while simultaneously telling the heretofore unknown backstage saga of its creation - and how it changed the world it left behind.

Audra McDonald will star as the 1920s headliner Lottie Gee, the star of the original Shuffle Along. Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter will portray the book writers and performers F.E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles, and Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry will play the songwriting team of Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake.

SHUFFLE ALONG Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed will be produced by Scott Rudin.

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From This Author Michael Dale