Brandon Victor Dixon (“The Color Purple,” “Motown”) and Joshua Henry (“The Scottsboro Boys,” “Violet”) also have signed on to the production, which serves as both a revival of 1921 jazz musical “Shuffle Along” as well as a chronicle of the backstage story of the show’s development and its subsequent influence, drawing famous fans including George Gershwin, Fanny Brice, Al Jolson and Langston Hughes. Actors including Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson appeared in the original production’s cast.
Mitchell, a Tony winner for the 2000 revival of “Kiss Me, Kate,” and Porter, who picked up his own Tony for “Kinky Boots” in 2013, will play F.E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles, the book writers and performers of the original “Shuffle Along.” Dixon and Henry appear as the songwriting duo, Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake. All of them join six-time Tony winner McDonald as the headlining star Lottie Gee.
Under the full title “Shuffle Along, or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed After,” the show’s original book by Miller and Lyles will be augmented by new material by George C. Wolfe (“Angels in America,” “Lucky Guy”), who also directs. Savion Glover, the tap master who collaborated with Wolfe on 1996 hit “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk,” choreographs.
The design team for “Shuffle Along” includes Santo Loquasto (sets), Ann Roth (costumes), Scott Lehrer (sound) and Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (lights).
Mitchell, currently appearing in USA series “Mr. Robot,” hasn’t been on Broadway since he starred in the musical adaptation of “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in 2010.
“Shuffle Along” begins previews March 14 ahead of an April 21 opening at the Music Box Theater, where London hit “King Charles III” has a limited run beginning in the fall.