Running since March 2016 George C. Wolfe revisits a classic 1921 musical with a new work exploring the backstage story about the making of one of the first all-black Broadway musical hits.
The Broadway production of Shuffle Along closed July 24, 2016. For current Broadway show listings and tickets, please click here.
From the producers: 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. But with an infectious jazz score and exuberant dancing, Shuffle Along ignited not just Broadway, but all of New York City. Because of "Shuffle Along," Uptown and Downtown met - and became one.
The 2016 "Shuffle Along," created anew by a remarkable constellation of artists, 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.
"Shuffle Along" stars record-breaking six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, along with fellow Tony winners Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter, plus Tony nominees Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry.
McDonald, who won the 2014 Tony Award for her performance in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill," has also won Tonys for "Carousel," "Master Class," "Ragtime," "A Raisin in the Sun" and "Porgy and Bess."
Mitchell won a Tony Award for his performance in "Kiss Me, Kate," as well as three nominations for "Ragtime," "King Hedley II" and "Man of La Mancha." Porter's Broadway credits include "Smokey Joe's Cafe," "Grease," "Five Guys Named Moe," "Miss Saigon" and his Tony winnning role in "Kinky Boots."
Explosive...Wolfe bombards a core of ideas about race and culture with a billion showbiz protons to produce a gorgeous spectacle. If much of Act Two is a PowerPoint presentation, the show as a whole is nevertheless life-changing theater.
It's like a history lesson that will blow you away. There is a bit of bloat, too much exposition and with five stars who each need a backstory, the plot sometimes slows, but Wolfe nicely captures the timeless craziness of creation and the glory days of a special show.
[A] refreshing burst of energy, no caffeine necessary...Glover's rhythmic tap is the true pulse of "Shuffle Along." Clocking in at just shy of three hours, [it] never feels long - it's a dazzling production that celebrates art, dreams, and equality.
New York Daily News
When the cast is singing and tearing up the floor, it's pure unmitigated heaven. But between numbers, the narration turns entertainment into dull lecture hall. Even though the narration lacks drama, the tap-happy new show gleams with ambition and topnotch talent.
New York Times
[The] routines first performed nearly a century ago come across as defiantly fresh. The clunky, shoehorned-in exposition doesn't overwhelm the sweeping grace of "Shuffle Along" whenever it sings or dances. [It] also boasts the comeliest and most dynamic chorus on Broadway.
Bold and wistful, playful and important...it is overstuffed with ambition and talent. There is so much to tell and as much to soak in and enjoy, thanks to a thrilling A-list cast, plus a top creative team. There is a lot of exposition [and] a few too many back stories...but what illustrations these are.
Time Out New York
Extraordinary...the first half is sensational; the second is difficult, in terms of how engagingly [the] narratives play out. But with a cast this incandescent, there's an overflow of joy and style that smooths over stylistic rough edges and knotty stitching of history to myth.
The stars, all excellent, provide portraits that are at once recognizably human and lavishly entertaining. "Shuffle Along" also benefits, greatly, from the exuberant gifts of choreographer Glover. It's exhilarating, when the tribute burns as brightly as this one.