| California Privacy Rights "Any show that followed the characteristics of Shuffle Along could usually be assured of favorable reviews or at least a modest audience response. But while a production number is fashioned around that forecast, too much of the concluding information is imparted documentary-style, resulting in a limp ending. [12] Bessie Allison's first professional performance was in Shuffle Along. There's interesting evidence of cultural appropriation (George Gershwin allegedly stole the signature bars of "I Got Rhythm" from Shuffle Along pit musician William Grant Still), and poignancy in the discovery that many of the show's strutting stars had to return to civilian jobs after their time in the spotlight. The musical launched or boosted the careers of Josephine Baker, Paul Robeson, Florence Mills, Fredi Washington and Adelaide Hall. The show's dancing and 16-girl chorus line were more reasons why the show was so successful. [2], President Harry Truman chose the show's song "I'm Just Wild About Harry" for his campaign anthem. "Shuffle Along" is one of the most anticipated musicals of 2016. A 1952 revival, starring Sissle and Blake, Avon Long and Thelma Carpenter and choreographed by Henry LeTang, was also unsuccessful. [3] It was directed by Walter Brooks, with Eubie Blake playing the piano. And she can tap-dance, too! 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. [6] None of the four had ever written a musical, or even appeared on Broadway. Sadly, George C. Wolfe, book writer and director of “Shuffle Along or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” doesn’t seem to have figured that out. TWITTER FACEBOOK [8] It introduced musical hits such as "I'm Just Wild about Harry", "Love Will Find a Way", and "In Honeysuckle Time". Privacy Policy | As told here, another important part of the show's gestation was Lottie Gee (Audra McDonald), an established "chitlin circuit" star who had toured internationally as a soloist and was something of a grand diva by the time she joined the company. Full title: "Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed." Sam keeps his promise to appoint Steve as chief of police, but they begin to disagree on petty matters. Scene after scene dazzles in one of the most electrifying entertainments on Broadway. "[21] Nevertheless, scholar James Haskins stated that Shuffle Along "started a whole new era for blacks on Broadway, as well as a whole new era for blacks in all creative fields. But the troupe refused to give up, and the show became the talk of the town, running almost 500 performances. The result of this critical stranglehold on the black musical was that ... black authors and composers prepared shows within extremely narrow constraints. February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans in all areas of life, including on Broadway. Her wacky creations for a Chinese restaurant scene are inspired, as are her flashy threads for the guys when they become suddenly flush with success. “Shuffle Along” is often called the first successful all-black musical. The four male leads are equally consummate stage artists who go a long way toward finding depth in their underdeveloped characters. [citation needed] However, the success of the show set limits on the black-themed shows that followed. Josephine Baker, who was deemed too young at the age of 15 to be in the show, joined the touring company in Boston, and then joined the Broadway cast when she turned 16. Shop Brand New Color Playbill from 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 Joshua Henry Book by George C. Wolfe, Music by Eubie Blake, Lyrics by Noble Sissle and more music, movie, and TV memorabilia at Amazon's Entertainment Collectibles Store. Shuffle Along Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed Music & lyrics by Noble Sissle & Eubie Blake. It goes without saying at this point that there's nothing the superhuman McDonald can't do onstage, but rarely do we get to see her cut loose in exuberant comedic mode to the extent she does here. Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed (Original, Musical, Broadway) opened in New York City Apr 28, 2016 and played through Jul 24, 2016. Book: George C. Wolfe; original book: F.E. Shuffle Along yielded Sissle and Blake’s best-known song, “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” as… [27] The cast starred Audra McDonald as Lottie Gee, Brian Stokes Mitchell as Miller, Billy Porter as Lyles, Brandon Victor Dixon as Blake and Joshua Henry as Sissle. AdChoices Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed is a musical adaptation based on the original book of the 1921 musical, focusing on the challenges of mounting the original production of Shuffle Along and its effect on Broadway and race relations. The show was the baby of two vaudeville duos who met at a 1920 NAACP benefit: F.E. Book by George C. Wolfe. The show focuses on the challenges of mounting the 1921 Broadway production of Shuffle Along, its success and aftermath, including its effect on Broadway and race relations. "Shuffle Along," the final new Broadway musical of the 2015-16 season has achieved all of this. Tony winners Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, George C. Wolfe, Billy Porter and Savion Glover collaborated on the backstage story. Whether it’s considered a revival or a new musical, Shuffle Along or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed is for most of its overstuffed duration an exuberant entertainment. That connection never dims, whether she's whooping it up in "I'm Just Wild About Harry," subbing for the brass section with the marvelous Dixon in their duet, "You're Lucky to Me," or pouring out heartache in the torch song, "Memories of You." After finding a small source of funding, Shuffle Along toured through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The visuals also are top-notch. It's almost impossible to stay still in your seat when the internally motorized ensemble of Shuffle Along explodes into one of choreographer Savion Glover's seismic tap routines, or when the thoroughbred leads wrap their velvet pipes around those syncopated jazz sounds. This production was unsuccessful and closed after 17 performances. The cast is magnificent. [20] In 1929, Harlem, a drama by Wallace Thurman and William Rapp, introduced the Slow Drag, the first African-American social dance to reach Broadway. Music Box Theater 239 W. 45th St. 212/239-6200 Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed (Apr 28, 2016 - Jul 24, 2016) Starring: Billy Porter [Aubrey Lyles] MusicalOriginal. Terms of Use | …and Aubrey Lyles to produce Shuffle Along, the first all-black Broadway show to play for full Broadway prices. That said, Shuffle Along is a most enjoyable, invigorating new look at a savory and worth thinking about slice of musical history. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER is a registered trademark of The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Location: 230 W. 45th St., New York City. Directed by George C. Wolfe. However, even if the structural limitations of Wolfe's undertaking are unable to support the scope of his noble intentions, it's a genuine thrill to watch this outrageously talented cast herald the achievements of a team that brought innovative black artistry to mainstream American theater. [24], During World War II, Sissle and Blake adapted and performed Shuffle Along for USO shows, with an ensemble that included pianist and vibraphonist Sylvester Lewis.[25]. [15] The musical toured successfully throughout the country up to 1924. [19], After Shuffle Along, nine African-American musicals opened on Broadway between 1921 and 1924. [29] The production closed on July 24, 2016. Music & lyrics: Noble Sissle & Eubie Blake The show premiered on Broadway at the Daly's 63rd Street Theatre on May 23, 1921, and closed on July 15, 1922, after 504 performances. However, while the showmanship is extraordinary, Shuffle Along could have benefited from a pre-Broadway developmental run to hone the fluidity of its storytelling. It’s also a social and showbusiness history lesson that’s … The exchange (between Broadway royalty and a gifted young talent) is a concentrated master class, as Lottie hijacks the song, airborne on her own glorious sounds, before stepping back with a sinking face as she realizes the girl is a serious threat. Shuffle Along, a musical with music and lyrics by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake and original book by F.E. For the past few months Wolfe has been racing to finish his own Broadway musical–titled, not so simply, Shuffle Along, or The Making of the Musical … [6][10] Its appeal to audiences of all races, and to celebrities such as George Gershwin, Fanny Brice, Al Jolson, Langston Hughes and critic George Jean Nathan, helped to unite the white Broadway and black jazz communities and improve race relations in America.[6][7][11]. The detailed attention to period performance styles is exceptional, as is the degree to which the stars all pull their weight in the galvanic dance numbers. Wolfe has always been one of the theater's boldest cultural archeologists, sifting through the past in adventurous projects like The Colored Museum, The Wild Party and Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, his last collaboration with Glover, 20 years ago. 5:00 PM PDT 4/28/2016 However, the married Blake's more aw-shucks manner wins Lottie over, and they begin a long affair. There are issues with exposition overload and timeline confusion in the first act, and then an increasingly unwieldy sprawl of multiple narrators and digressive subplots in the second, hitched together at the end with contextual considerations and footnotes. Somehow, none of that makes very trenchant drama. "Nothing but high notes and bad attitude" is how the very smooth Sissle describes her before launching an ill-considered charm offensive that gets a withering reception. It, and another similar short featuring Miller and Lyles, were found in the Warner Bros archives in 2010, where they had been misfiled. [30], Sheet music for "Love Will Find a Way", a song from the show, Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, "Shuffle Along: The Musical at the Center of the Harlem Renaissance", "Shuffling Roles: Alterations and Audiences in Shuffle Along", "History of The Musical Stage, 1920s Part III: Black Musicals", "Black History Month – Innovative Musical Contributions: Eubie Blake", "Little Known Black History Fact: Shuffle Along", "The Verdict: Critics Review Broadway's 'Shuffle Along'", "Audra McDonald to Star in New Broadway Musical With Savion Glover", "Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald Will Reunite on Broadway in, "See Full List of 2016 Tony Award Nominations", "Broadway’s ‘Shuffle Along’ To Close in July, When Audra McDonald Exits", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shuffle_Along&oldid=972864924, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2013, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, "I'm Simply Full of Jazz" - Ruth Little and Syncopation Steppers, "Love Will Find a Way" - Jessie Williams and Harry Walton, "Sing Me to Sleep, Dear Mammy" - Harry Walton and Board of Aldermen, "(In) Honeysuckle Time (When Emmaline Said She'd Be Mine)" - Tom Sharper, "Gypsy Blues" - Jessie Williams, Ruth Little and Harry Walton, "Shuffle Along" - Jimtown Pedestrians and Traffic Cop, "Good Night Angeline" - Board of Aldermen, "If You Haven't Been Vamped by a Brownskin, You Haven't Been Vamped at All" - Steve Jenkins, Sam Peck and Jimtown Vamps, "Uncle Tom and Old Black Joe" - Uncle Tom and Old Black Joe, "Everything Reminds Me of You" - Jessie Williams and Harry Walton, "Oriental Blues" - Tom Sharper and Oriental Girls, "I Am Craving for That Kind of Love"/ "Daddy (Won't You Please Come Home)" - Ruth Little, "Baltimore Buzz" - Tom Sharper and Jimtown's Jazz Steppers, "African Dip" - Steve Jenkins and Sam Peck, This page was last edited on 14 August 2020, at 05:28. The uncommon ambition behind writer-director George C. Wolfe's project is baked into the show's hefty subtitle: Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. They resolve their differences in a long, comic fight. | Do Not Sell My Personal Information There's no quick retreat to the side of the stage here while the chorus kids do their stuff, though the ensemble most definitely takes charge in a bravura sequence called "The Pennsylvania Graveyard Shuffle," a vigorous locomotive tap ballet that marks a grueling statewide series of one-nighters. However, with little funding, it was difficult to meet travel and production expenses, and the cast rarely got paid. "Shuffle Along was one of the first shows to provide the right mixture of primitivism and satire, enticement and respectability, blackface humor and romance, to satisfy its customers". [2] The show also contributed to the desegregation of theaters in the 1920s, giving many black actors their first chance to appear on Broadway. David Rooney Miller & Aubrey Lyles. A new musical based on the making of Shuffle Along – entitled Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed – is scheduled to officially open on April 21, 2016 at Broadway's Music Box Theatre. [5] It had brief revivals in 1933 and 1952. Search CurtainUp in the box below Back to Curtainup Main Page PRODUCTION NOTES Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. "[16] Black audiences at Shuffle Along sat in orchestra seats rather than being relegated to the balcony. by It launched the careers of Josephine Baker, Adelaide Hall,[4] Florence Mills, Fredi Washington and Paul Robeson, and became such a hit that it caused "curtain time traffic jams" on West 63rd Street. 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