Shuffle Along was a 1921 Broadway play by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake. The show debuted at Daly’s 63rd Street theater in New York City. Shuffle Along was one of the longest running plays on Broadway, with 504 performances. The show served as a breakout role for St. Louis native Josephine Baker, who danced in the chorus as the zany caboose at the end of the line. Baker joined the traveling cast at age 15 and was allowed to join the Broadway version a year later, when she was 16. Shuffle Along also included talents Paul Robeson and Adelaide Hall.
Shuffle Along featured the first sophisticated black love story on stage. This time, the black audience sat in the orchestra seats, instead of the usual balconies. The production was so succesful, 63rd street had to be converted into a one-way street to fix the traffic jams during showtimes.
Because of the mixed-race theater audience, the chorus girls were typically of light complexion and makeup was applied to either lighten or darken their skin to make the audience more comfortable. Even during the play, one of the characters refers to a lighter-skinned woman as being more desirable.
The plot of Shuffle Along surrounded a run for mayor by two men, with the loser taking on the role as police chief. As the comedy musical unfolds, a do-gooder named Harry Walton steps and and removes both men from the scene, claiming the love interest in the process.
The show’s hit song, “I’m Just Wild About Harry”, was an instant success for decades forward. Though the show featured blackface performances, the audience widely accepted the cultural aspect of the show, feeding into the humor and purpose behind the plot and performances. Some even believe it was a significant launch for the Harlem Renaissance.
After the success of Shuffle Along, nine additional Broadway plays with African American casts were born, including “Blackbirds” starring Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.
The theater featuring Shuffle Along in 1921, Dalys 63rd Street Theater, was demolished in 1957. However, additional theaters featuring the work of black playwrights like the August Wilson Theater, have become a must-see on New York’s historic Broadway tour.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25