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VIDEOS: SHUFFLE ALONG's Grammy-Winning New Star Rhiannon Giddens Will Sub During Audra McDonald's Maternity Leave

As announced today on BroadwayWorld, six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald shook up the Broadway community today with this little item on her Twitter page.

The star's previous plan to take a hiatus from her current starring role in SHUFFLE ALONG, OR, THE MAKING OF THE MUSICAL SENSATION OF 1921 AND ALL THAT FOLLOWED in order to bring her Tony-winning performance in LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL to the West End has now been change to a maternity leave which will begin on July 24th.

McDonald is married to Broadway star Will Swenson, who recently appeared on Broadway as a temporary replacement for Roger Bart in DISASTER! McDonald has a daughter from her previous marriage and Swenson has two sons from a previous marriage.

During her absence, McDonald's role, Lotte Gee, will be played by Broadway newcomer, Grammy-winning recording artist Rhiannon Giddens.

Giddens is best known as singer, violinist and banjo player for the country blues band, The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Their 2010 album, "Genuine Negro Jig" was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.

Here they are at the 2013 Mountain Song Festival in Brevard, North Carolina, with Giddens singing lead vocals for "I Am A Country Girl."

In February 2015, Giddens released her highly acclaimed solo album, "Tomorrow Is My Turn" on Nonesuch Records, including songs written by Patsy Cline, Odetta, Dolly Parton and Nina Simone, among others. Here she is with a selection from that album, Hank Cochran's "She's Got You."

SHUFFLE ALONG, OR, THE MAKING OF THE MUSICAL SENSATION OF 1921 AND ALL THAT FOLLOWED is a re-imagined version of the 1921 musical SHUFFLE ALONG, one of the earliest stage hits starring, written and directed by African-Americans.

Joining six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, Tony Award winners Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter, and Tony Award nominees Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henryin the 30-member cast of are Brooks Ashmanskas, Felicia Boswell, Amber Iman, Adrienne Warren, Phillip Attmore, Darius de Haas, C.K. Edwards, Afra Hines, Curtis Holland, Adrienne Howard, Kendrick Jones, Lisa LaTouche, Alicia Lundgren, J.C. Montgomery,Erin N. Moore,Janelle Neal,Brittany Parks, Arbender Robinson, Karissa Royster, Britton Smith, Zurin Villanueva, Christian Dante White, J.L. Williams, Pamela Yasutake, and Richard Riaz Yoder.

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, andAdelaide Hall. Because of SHUFFLE ALONG, Uptown and Downtown met and became one.


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From This Author Michael Dale