The upcoming Broadway production of Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed has announced that six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill), one of the cast's headlining stars, will take a three-month hiatus from the production shortly after opening at the Music Box Theatre.
The musical is slated to begin previews March 14 in advance of an April 21 opening. According to Telecharge, McDonald will be out of performances beginning June 20, 2016, to fulfill a preexisting commitment and then return to the Broadway company beginning September 27, 2016. Reports say she is then contracted with the show through June 11, 2017. Representatives of Shuffle Along have not indicated the details of McDonald's prior commitment, nor who will be taking over the role of performer Lottie Gee in her absence.
Billed as a revival, this production will present the landmark 1921 African-American musical Shuffle Along alongside the story of the behind-the-scenes saga that led the songwriting team of Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake and librettists F.E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles to create this groundbreaking work. George C. Wolfe directs and writes a new book for the production, which features choreography by Savion Glover.
In addition to McDonald, the Broadway cast will star Tony winners Brian Stokes Mitchell (Ragtime) and Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), as well as Tony nominees Brandon Victor Dixon (Motown the Musical) and Joshua Henry (Violet).
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