Shuffle Along and Ethnic Humor

A family story

Authored by: Seaton Sandra

The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138726710
eBook ISBN: 9781315191225
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315191225-18

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Abstract

This chapter uses primary source material to complicate the reception of the 2016 production of Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. Was the book by Black creatives Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles for the original 1921 production of Shuffle Along “racist”? Does such a critique even make sense? Or is Depression-era blackface, on and offstage, a harbinger of Black Lives Matter-era performance art? This chapter argues for a reconsideration of blackface and of the original Shuffle Along’s ongoing cultural meaning(s).

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