‘Shuffle Along’ stage review

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by admin No Comments

"Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921" and All That Followed is a refreshing burst of energy, no caffeine necessary. With a cast that features Audra McDonald, Billy Porter, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Joshua Henry, and Brandon Victor Dixon (there are 16 Tony wins and noms between them), the jazzy musical boasts so much star power, at times it seems unfair to the rest of the Broadway circuit. Director George C. Wolfe and choreographer/tap dancer extraordinaire Savion Glover reunite for the first time in 20 years (1996’s "Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk") for the musical centered on the real-life creative team behind the 1921 Broadway sensation "Shuffle Along." Here, we meet playwrights F.E. Miller (Stokes Mitchell) and Aubrey Lyles (a phenomenal Porter), lyricist Noble Sissle (Henry) and composer Eubie Blake (Dixon). All four differ in personality (Porter’s flamboyant Lyles could come with his own Housewives-esque tagline: “I say what I want, when I want”), but share the same dream — to launch the first all-black love story musical on Broadway. And make it a success, at that. (In our Hamilton-iverse, this may feel like a no-brainer, but as we find out in the show, black actors who did even so much as hold hands on stage could be “tarred and feathered” after the curtain closed.)