A production spokesperson for the new Broadway musical Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed confirmed that the show will relight March 25 after canceling four previews this week owing to the illness of star Audra McDonald.
McDonald issued a statement March 24 saying, “I’d much rather be on stage at The Music Box than at home with my Dr. Nelson’s Inhaler and Mucinex, but unfortunately with this nasty cold, I’m sounding less like my character Lottie Gee and more like Animal from The Muppets.”
Shuffle Along’s previously announced hiatus, beginning Monday, March 28 and resuming Saturday, April 2, will now end one day earlier, with an added 8 PM performance on Friday, April 1. The added performance will provide ticketholders for this week’s canceled shows the option to reschedule as soon as possible.
Shuffle Along, which began previews March 15 at the Music Box Theatre, stars record-breaking six-time Tony Award winner McDonald, along with fellow Tony winners Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter, plus Tony nominees Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry. Scott Rudin is producing the show. George C. Wolfe is writing the book as well as directing, and Savion Glover is creating the choreography.
The new show is opening "cold" on Broadway, meaning without an out-of-town tryout or previous regional production. Developmental workshops were held in Manhattan in fall 2015.
The show reportedly has been running over three hours in early previews.
The backstage story recounts the making of one of the first successful all-black Broadway musical hits that was also written by African-Americans. It opened the door for black performers and writers on the stage during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance.
The new musical uses the Blake & Sissle music with an original libretto and some new lyrics by Wolfe. The show will represent the first collaboration between Wolfe and tap master Glover since their Tony-winning Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk in 1996.
Tickets are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or visiting Telecharge.com. A number of $40 preview rush tickets, limited to two tickets per person, are available on the day of performance beginning at 10 AM Monday through Saturday, at the box office of the Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th Street. This offer will be available through Wednesday, April 27 only.