Broadway Review: Shuffle Along

Shuffle Along


Official Blurb: THEN –  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 timeSHUFFLE 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, unforgettable 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, and Adelaide Hall. Because of SHUFFLE ALONG, Uptown and Downtown met—andbecame one.

NOW – The 2016 SHUFFLE ALONG, created anew by a remarkable constellation of artists and led by 6-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald, 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, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, is a musical revival of the transformative but now barely remembered SHUFFLE ALONG, featuring the show’s original music and lyrics by Noble Sissle & Eubie Blake, and a new book by George C. Wolfe, based on the original book by F.E. Miller & Aubrey Lyles.

My Take: This show is all about the song and dance and not that much about the story. But when the song and dance is as good you gforgive a little.  I was absolutely in love with the dancing, such fabulous tap dancing that I had not seen on broadway since anything Goes. Everyone in the cast is so talented especially I was enthralled by Adrianne Warren and by Audra Mcdonald dancing and singing in her pregnant belly – she is committed – i was so impressed how does she do it. In terms of the men department , although of course Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter are absolute gems, and when they hit their numbers they are a sight to behold, i somehow feel the material does them a disservice. I now totally understand why Brandon Victor Dixon  was nominated over them, he shines (maybe its the material that actually goes to him) but my eyes always went to him when he was on stage. The songs are great and the music is fabulous i wanted to go to a jazz bar after. My issue was with the book and the story. The way the story is told of how the show occurred falls a bit flat. There is a little too much just discourse to the audience and too little action for my taste. There are many historical shows that manage to move the transition of the historical line much better such as is Jersey Boys. My other complain is the ending it just fell flat i wanted a showstopper. This was an excellent show, but expectations are hard and this just did not live up to all of them, but they surpassed the musical ones.

Show Score: 80

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