Audra McDonald has found her next Broadway project, and it’s a fresh look at a not-so-familiar tale from Broadway’s past.
The Tony Award record-breaker will collaborate with director George C. Wolfe and choreographer Savion Glover on a Broadway mounting of Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, a new production that tells the backstage story of the 1921 musical Shuffle Along, a should-be flop that became an unlikely hit on Broadway when it premiered in the height of vaudeville.
McDonald will star as ‘20s actress Lottie Gee, who played one of the female leads in the original production of Shuffle Along, widely considered a breakthrough musical for African-American performers and writers on Broadway. Conceived by Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles with a score by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, the show ignited the Main Stem with its jazzy score and turns from would-be star performers like Josephine Baker, Florence Mills, and Adelaide Hall.
Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed will incorporate elements and music of the original 1921 piece while telling the backstage story about the events that led to the creation of the show.
Wolfe wrote the book and will direct; Glover will choreograph, marking their first collaboration since 1996’s Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. The show will begin previews on March 14, 2016 at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre, with opening night slated for April 21.
The Scott Rudin-produced musical will boast music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Daryl Waters, scenic design by Santo Loquasto, costume design by Ann Roth, and lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer.