*“Shuffle Along” will shuffle out of Broadway earlier than expected.
The musical that was nominated for 10 Tony Awards this year will have its final curtain call on July 24 — the date that Broadway favorite Audra McDonald was already scheduled to go on maternity leave.
In the previously announced plan, McDonald was to leave the musical in late July and return in the fall after having her baby. Rhiannon Giddens was tapped to play the role in her absence.
Savion Glover, the famed tapper who is also the show’s choreographer, was also scheduled to appear in the production during McDonald’s hiatus.
But according to producers, McDonald’s pull at the box office is so significant that without her, the show’s sales would have suffered to an unsustainable degree, reports Variety.
“It has … become clear that the need for Audra to take a prolonged and unexpected hiatus from the show has determined the unfortunate inevitability of our running at a loss for significantly longer than the show can responsibly absorb, and we have decided to close the show when she leaves on July 24,” said the show’s lead producer Scott Rudin.
The production, George C. Wolfe’s backstage story inspired by the 1921 musical of the same name, earned largely glowing reviews when it opened in April, and sales have been strong, according to Variety.
The show will have played 100 performances (preceded by 38 previews) when it closes at the Music Box Theater.