NEW YORK (AP) — Some of Broadway's best will join Audra McDonald in a revival of the 1920s musical "Shuffle Along," including Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry. Two have Tonys, the others are Tony nominated.
Dixon played Harpo in "The Color Purple" and Berry Gordy in "Motown." Porter won a Tony for his performance as Lola in "Kinky Boots." Mitchell won a Tony for "Kiss Me Kate" and got nods for "Man of La Mancha," ''Ragtime" and "King Hedley II." Henry has nominations for "The Scottsboro Boys" and "Violet." The casting was announced Sunday.
"Shuffle Along" was one of the first Broadway musicals to be written and directed by African-Americans. With music and lyrics by noted composers Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, it had Broadway's first jazz score that included the songs "(I'm Just) Wild About Harry," ''Love Will Find a Way," ''Bandana Days" and "Shuffle Along." The dance-heavy show centers on a three-way mayoralty race in a small Southern town called Jimtown.
Director and writer George C. Wolfe decided to create a show about the show and has ended up with "Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed," a celebration of the era, creativity, audacity and the city.
Previews begin in March at the Music Box Theatre.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits