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Shuffle Along

Members say: Entertaining, Great singing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging
83
Critics
81
47 reviews
Members
84
778 reviews
 

Tony Award winners Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Billy Porter headline this musical about the making of the 1921 Broadway hit 'Shuffle Along.'

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In May 1921, the new musical 'Shuffle Along' became the unlikeliest of hits. It stumbled into town after a back-breaking pre-Broadway tour, deeply in debt, and set to open at a remote theater house on West 63rd. Its failure was almost a foregone conclusion. But with an infectious jazz score and exuberant dancing, 'Shuffle Along' ignited not just Broadway but all of New York City. Uptown and Downtown met and became one. This star-studded production combines the 1921 musical 'Shuffle Along' with the backstory of the people who brought it to life. 'Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk' collaborators George C. Wolfe and Savion Glover reunite to direct and choreograph.

 

Cast & Creatives (15)



Reviews (825)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
81
Avg Score

85
The New York Times

“As staged by Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Glover routines first performed nearly a century ago come across as defiantly fresh...What’s new in this 'Shuffle Along' is the part written by Mr. Wolfe, and it’s what feels stalest...The clunky, shoehorned-in exposition doesn’t overwhelm the sweeping grace of ‘Shuffle Along’ whenever it sings or dances...Ms. McDonald is a one-woman time machine de luxe, who translates the precise stylistic quirks of a bygone era into a melting immediacy." Full Review

90
Theatermania

“It's an enchanting night on old Broadway, overflowing with talent and kept in constant motion by the brilliant choreography of Savion Glover... It's not a typical Broadway musical by any means, and that is a good thing...Glover exceeds all expectations with his heart-pounding and scrupulously constructed choreography, executed with flawless precision by the ensemble...It keeps this two-hour-45-minute show from ever dragging.” Full Review

70
Variety

"An incoherent book seems a small price to pay for the joy of watching Audra McDonald cut loose...McDonald takes the role and does everything in this show but fly...But what the first act giveth, the second act taketh away...At this point, the show is actively fighting with itself...It’s understandable that Wolfe would fall for this rich material, but he really should have stopped himself from cramming it all into this show." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

“The first half is sensational; the second is difficult...But with a cast this incandescent and Wolfe staging a constant flow of miracles, there’s an overflow of joy and style that smooths over stylistic rough edges and knotty stitching of history to myth...We can luxuriate in a breathtaking piece of showmanship, featuring more talent crowding a stage than pretty much any other Broadway show at present (and yes, that includes 'Hamilton').” Full Review

95
New York Magazine / Vulture

"Wolfe bombards a core of ideas about race and culture with a billion showbiz protons to produce both a gorgeous spectacle and a big, smoking crater where your former ideas of Broadway once stood...If much of Act Two is a PowerPoint presentation, with astonishing slides but bullet-point arguments, the show as a whole is nevertheless life-changing theater. To the extent Wolfe has redeemed the lost artists of 'Shuffle Along,' he has also redeemed himself, and us." Full Review

95
The Huffington Post

“The Broadway season ends with a theatrical explosion from George C. Wolfe and Savion Glover...Add in a half-dozen stellar performances, a sterling production, and an astoundingly talented ensemble and you have a musical that moves in a manner we haven’t seen since ‘Dreamgirls’...It is the combination of Wolfe and Glover that makes ‘Shuffle Along’ a veritable explosion of theatricality, an unorthodox and vital new-style Broadway feast.” Full Review

65
The Guardian (UK)

“A sometimes inspired and sometimes listless exploration of a path-breaking theatrical work...Despite the excellence of the leads, it comes to seem as much a lecture-demonstration as a drama. This 'Shuffle Along' is sometimes edifying and sometimes entertaining, but rarely do these twin aims coincide...It’s only when the feet are tapping, the fringe is swaying and the voices of the leads and chorus are celebrating the thrill of syncopation that the musical lives again.” Full Review

85
DC Theatre Scene

“It is cataclysmically entertaining...Glover’s thrilling choreography is enough alone to make the show worth seeing...Wolfe’s ambition to tell the story behind the musical...quickly starts feeling as if he were a PhD student defending his thesis about the significance of this 'sadly neglected' musical...Luckily, Wolfe the savvy showman often wins out over Wolfe the pedant, and there are moments of ‘Shuffle Along’ that are as electrifying and sublime as any this season on Broadway.” Full Review

65
Lighting & Sound America

"Wolfe, as director, hasn't completely pulled together the glittering materials at his disposal to create the dazzling meld of entertainment and social commentary intended here...'Shuffle Along' is an odd one--a show that frequently dazzles, yet rarely satisfies. By the time it reaches its surprisingly muted conclusion, so many things have been referenced, with adequate amplification, that one hardly knows where to start." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

“Scene after scene dazzles in one of the most electrifying entertainments on Broadway...While the showmanship is extraordinary, ‘Shuffle Along’ could have benefited from a developmental run to hone the fluidity of its storytelling...The project's strengths far outweigh its flaws. The cast is magnificent...The energy and elasticity of Glover's work is astonishing…Even if the limitations of Wolfe's undertaking are unable to support the scope of his intentions, it's a genuine thrill to watch." Full Review

70
The Wall Street Journal

“The first half of ‘Shuffle Along’ is the musical you’ve got to see...Savion Glover’s near-nonstop choreography explodes off the stage with the unrelenting impact of a flamethrower. But then comes intermission, and what had looked like a masterpiece goes flat and stays that way...While Mr. Wolfe has failed to weld the parts of ‘Shuffle Along’ into a convincing whole, his directorial touch is otherwise as sure as ever.” Full Review

75
AM New York

“A hot mess of the highest caliber—a dazzling and dizzying documentary mixed with star turns, syncopated rhythms, stylish attire, fierce tap-dancing and weak subplots...The storytelling is chaotic and choppy, and the characters are painted in broad strokes. The second act, set after the show has become an overnight sensation, comes off as superfluous...Still, there’s no denying its thrills and palpable excitement.” Full Review

85
Talkin' Broadway

“It's a thrilling kaleidoscope, both comfortable and unpredictable...Glover's work is electrifying, but the arrangements and orchestrations of Daryl Waters so meld together the musical bits and pieces into one seamless whole that they might be more amazing and integral...The second act, charting the 'All That Followed' chunk of the title, lacks the dynamic narrative thrust of the first, and struggles to maintain the same vibrancy, only regaining it in full for the finale.” Full Review

90
Chicago Tribune

"It is no mean feat to revive an archaic Broadway musical and create an entertainment that not only celebrates the classic material but ennobles it further...It is a yet-greater achievement to simultaneously offer what is essentially a lesson in theatrical and racial history... 'Shuffle Along,' has achieved all of this....It suffers from the scale of what it has attempted...An exceptionally important new show...'Shuffle' does all that historical stuff while putting on one helluva tap show." Full Review

80
New York Daily News

“When the cast is singing and tearing up the floor with choreographer Savion Glover’s muscular and thrilling tap-dancing it’s pure unmitigated heaven. But between numbers...the narration turns entertainment into dull lecture hall...Mitchell, Porter, Dixon and Henry are terrific. But the ace in the hole in this enterprise is Audra McDonald...Even though the narration lacks drama, the tap-happy new show gleams with ambition and topnotch talent.” Full Review

65
Deadline

"An idea is not a focal point, and so 'Shuffle Along' never resolves into a story. Instead, it’s a series of historical scenes that tell, rather than show, and that’s deadly for a musical. It’s unquestionably entertaining to watch the five principal actors here at work, none less than consummate...And yet 'Shuffle Along' struck me as both rough and unfinished...The show is conceptually flawed, and it’s hard to tell whether that ever can be resolved." Full Review

85
CurtainUp

"George C. Wolfe's combination of putting-on-a-show story and history lesson about the groundbreaking contributions of the 'Shuffle Along' team to musical theater has so many riches that it's easy to forgive its somewhat disappointing execution of the 'All That Followed' second act...Brilliantly choreographed by Savion Glover with a large, to-die-for, top-to-bottom cast...'Shuffle Along' is a most enjoyable, invigorating new look at a savory and worth thinking about slice of musical history." Full Review

70
Front Mezz Junkies

“The drive of Act One left Act Two with little to no destination in mind...A lot of time is wasted on material that just doesn’t have the drive or the passion that vibrated off the stage during Act One...Throughout the whole show, I have never seen such powerful tap dancing in my life...but at the three hour mark, we are all a bit ready to step outside and rejoin the current Broadway’s sparkling lights and excitement.” Full Review

85
The Associated Press

“It's not a review or revival. It's more like a history lesson that will blow you away...There is a bit of bloat, too much exposition and with five stars who each need a backstory, the plot sometimes slows, but Wolfe nicely captures the timeless craziness of creation and the glory days of a special show.” Full Review

85
Newsday

“A bold and wistful, playful and important musical-about-a-musical. It is overstuffed with ambition and talent, sure, but why shouldn’t it be?...There is a lot of exposition, a few too many back stories and, every so often, the narrative inertia of an illustrated history. But what illustrations these are, choreographed for the terrific dancing chorus by Glover with both a combination of the dazzling, syncopated black-tapping tradition and his own special full-footed, stomping identity.” Full Review

85
Bob's Theater Blog

"Wolfe keeps the show moving energetically. It is the book, also by Wolfe, that I found wanting. The story of mounting a show against all obstacles seems clichéd...With five main protagonists, there is too little time to develop any of them very deeply…Nevertheless, you won’t find more talent on one stage anywhere else on Broadway. With all the book’s flaws, the story represents an important piece of theater history and black history that should not be forgotten." Full Review

95
The Wrap

“A very didactic approach, but whenever their words threaten to turn into a Wikipedia entry, Wolfe the writer hands the reins to his better half: Wolfe the director, with an assist from Savion Glover the choreographer. Both have no equal on Broadway this season. In a year of pandering, corn-pone musicals, ‘Shuffle Along’ exudes elegance and intelligence at every turn. While it’s big in its ambitions, theatrical thrills, and the emotions it stirs, Wolfe achieves much in very small ways.” Full Review

85
CitiTour

"A history lesson wrapped in a vivid theatrical entertainment wrapped in a rebuke...It may be too much, but you most definitely don’t want to live without it!...Wolfe stunningly recreates numbers from the show onstage and backstage, with the invaluable help of the magnificent tap choreography of Savion Glover...The show’s second act fares slightly less well, as it gives us more of a paint-by-numbers recap of the fates of these characters...Get tickets while they last." Full Review

90
NorthJersey.com

"Mitchell, Porter, Dixon and Henry are all top-rung Broadway performers, and invest their characters with distinctive personalities, as well as singing in their own special styles...But as in every show in which she appears, McDonald stands out...She's proved that she can do anything, superbly...You leave 'Shuffle Along' with the feeling that if everyone tap-danced, the world would be a much happier place." Full Review

70
WNBC

“‘Shuffle Along’ is stylized to evoke an era and focus on big scenes, which can become burdened with exposition...These necessities push individual personalities into the background, which keeps us from getting to know better the ensemble...Choreographer Glover brings to life elaborate tap sequences…‘Shuffle Along’ is moving, in fits and starts, as a story about artists who risk their critical and financial fortunes...instead of toning down that spirit for mass consumption.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
84
Avg Score

93
Absorbing, Exquisite, Relevant, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You are seeking a Classic-style musical that provides a commentary on today's social climate.

Don't see it if You do not like showtunes.

88
Slow, Entertaining, Great dancing

See it if you want to see amazing performers tell a really interesting real-life story.

Don't see it if you want a show that moves quickly; this one is a bit long, and needs a little structural work.

78
Refreshing, Insipid, Pleasant

See it if you love the stars and spectacular choreography.

Don't see it if you don't want to be lectured or are hoping to see Mitchell and McDonald in Tour de Force roles.

28
Boring, Excruciating, Great dancing

See it if you like great dancing and don't mind that the overall show is a snooze-fest with a terrible book despite a talented cast.

Don't see it if you are looking for a captivating experience with a strong book and score.

77
Dizzying, Disappointing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You're interested in the Harlem Renaissance.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals that over-explain.

92
Ambitious, Must see, Riveting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you love a fantstic cast, great musical numbers, and a wonderful story tying it all together.

Don't see it if you don't love tap or spectacle, even though this show might've changed your mind...

82
Ambitious, Entertaining, Uneven, Unfinished, Brilliant choreography

See it if you love tapping, learning some great theatre history, Audra, BVD, Josh Henry, Billy Porter, Stokes, Savion, George.

Don't see it if the disappointment of an unfinished Act 2 will take away from a stellar Act 1.

79
Ambitious, Entertaining, Great singing, Great dancing

See it if you want to see an amazing cast strut their stuff in an uneven show. Shame on the producers for blaming Audra for the show's early closure!

Don't see it if you want a show's 2nd act to be as great as its 1st act. If they had ended the show after Act 1 this could've won the Tony for best revival.

83
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You love great ensemble numbers (especially TAP!) Want a serious, historical piece with some comic relief. All star cast.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy large ensemble casts. You want a clear storyline. You want a 100% happy go lucky story.

80
Resonant, Great singing, Great dancing

See it if you're interested in the history of the American musical, especially in the context of opportunity and race, also the dancing is incredible.

Don't see it if you're looking for a perfect storyline; though the show tells the story well, it feels as though it's missing something.

65
Disappointing, Slow, Entertaining

See it if You want to see an all star cast and learn about a pivotal Broadway show.

Don't see it if You want to be excited. You want to see a well written show.

80
Ambitious, Clever, Disappointing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You are a fan of Audra McDonald.

Don't see it if You avoid productions that aren't fully baked.

74
Great acting, Cliched, Dated, Great staging, Fluffy

See it if If you like great dancing and a star studded cast. Especially Billy Porter.

Don't see it if If you want a show that's relevant to today and that you will actually remember for more than two seconds after it's over.

100
Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if a fantastic show worth seeing

Don't see it if no reason not to see it

84
Profound, Slow, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Weak story, but OH the dancing and singing!

Don't see it if You don't appreciate a good shuffle ball change.

76
Ambitious, Indulgent, Slow, Great dancing, Old timey

See it if you want to be dazzled by dancing and a talented cast, you liked "After Midnight"

Don't see it if you want a compelling story

90
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you love great dance performances

Don't see it if you are looking for strictly mindless entertainment

70
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Great dancing

See it if You want to learn about the original Shuffle Along that made history. You want to see a gorgeously talented cast tell an important story.

Don't see it if you like stories that seem to wrap themselves up completely. It felt long at times in the second act, and I left wishing for a cleaner end.

74
Original, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Slow, Great staging

See it if You like great dancing and history

Don't see it if You like strong characters and plot

95
Absorbing, Masterful, Resonant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want to see incredible tap dancing and be entranced by an all-star cast.

Don't see it if you don't like old-time musicals or jazz

79
Dizzying, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you love tap; you don't need much of a plot; you want to see super high energy performances by immensely talented singers and dancers.

Don't see it if you want to see a show with a structure or plot; it's mainly a vehicle for production numbers, and the back story doesn't really work.

80
Original, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You love tap, and enjoy rousing musical numbers.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy musicals with historical references.

79
Ambitious, Fantastic dancing, Starry

See it if Enjoy rhythm tap, to see a great cast, like 1920s jazz, appreciate the historical context and parallels

Don't see it if Concerned that tap can induce labor, prefer a high octane dance showcase or a history lesson but not both at once

80
Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Amazing dancing

See it if if you want to see the best tapdancing Broadway chorus maybe EVER; if you are passionate about history of American musicals;

Don't see it if you are averse to shows that are as educational as they are entertaining

95
Delightful, Must see, Entertaining, Great staging, Great dancing

See it if You love great dancing/singing/talented actors

Don't see it if you can't beg or borrow a ticket