Shuffle Along

Original Broadway Production (1921)

Trivia & History

During the run, "My Vision Girl" was added (placement unknown).

Later in the run, "Gypsy Blues" had a program note saying "with apologies to Victor Herbert".

The producer was Henry Cort, the son of wealthy white New York theatrical impresario John Cort.

The 63rd Street Music Hall was a disused lecture theatre owned by Henry Cort's father. Because the theatre was intended for lectures, meetings and films, the stage was very shallow and there was no orchestra pit. Renovations were carried out which resulted in the removal of three rows of seats to install a pit. Renovations were still going on during the first performances. During the performances, hammer blows could be heard off stage.

When the show came into town after a two-month tryout, it looked like it would be a flop. But word of mouth and great reviews brought attendance up so high that a Wednesday midnight show was added. Street traffic on 63rd Street became such a problem that it was re-established as a one-way. By November, the ticket price had raised from $2 at opening night to $3, then an unheard-of price to pay for theatre tickets.

At one point, there were three touring companies traveling around the United States. Two were assembled specifically as touring productions. The third was the Broadway production which went on the road after it closed.

Shuffle Along can be considered important for many reasons. One of which was the intergration of the audience. On opening night, black audience members sat as far forward as the fifth row. This was at a time when the orchestra level was reserved for white patrons with black patrons only seated in the balcony. The box office at the 63rd Street Music Hall, however, sold tickets to black patrons for the back 1/3 of the orchestra-level seating.

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