Audra McDonald, the Broadway favorite who last year notched a history-making sixth Tony win, will star next spring in “Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” a musical that reunites director George C. Wolfe and choreographer Savion Glover, the duo behind 1996 hit “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk.”
Scott Rudin, the busy producer of film, TV and Broadway (“Fish in the Dark,” “Skylight”), produces. It will be his first musical since he launched 2011 smash “The Book of Mormon.”
With a book by Wolfe, “Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed” will trace the backstage story of the creation of the 1921 Broadway hit “Shuffle Along.” Despite a creative team of Broadway tyros (vaudeville names Flournoy Miller, Aubrey Lyles, Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle) and a turbulent pre-Broadway tour, the jazz musical proved an influential hit, winning over famous fans including George Gershwin, Fanny Brice and Langston Hughes. During its run of more than a year, the show featured early performances by talent including Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson.
In the upcoming behind-the-scenes chronicle of the show, McDonald will star as 1920s talent Lottie Gee. Further casting remains to be set.
“Shuffle Along” already has staked out a spot on the 2015-16 calendar: The production starts previews March 14, 2016, ahead of an April 21, 2016, opening at the Music Box Theater.