Revisit the glitz and glamour of New York City during the Roaring Twenties with author and pop culture expert Caseen Gaines as he reveals the revolutionary impact one show had on generations of Americans. In our upcoming virtual book launch event for Gaines’ new release, Footnotes, Gaines will explore the history of the groundbreaking musical comedy Shuffle Along and show how its legacy continues to resonate today.

Footnotes Book Launch

Tickets to this talk are just $10. You can gain access to unlimited free virtual events per month and unlock a video archive of 100+ past events as an Untapped New York Insider starting at $10/month. Already an Insider? Register here! Can’t make it live? Register for this virtual talk and we’ll email you a recording of it after it ends

In this talk:

  • Uncover the systemic factors that led to the erasure of the most influential Broadway musicals of the 1920s from our shared cultural memory
  • Find out why Black musicians Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake are credited with kickstarting the Harlem Renaissance and bringing jazz to the mainstream
  • Learn about the influence of Shuffle Along beyond Manhattan as it toured the United States, including the Jim Crow South 
  • Trace the legacy of Shuffle Along to shows like The Wiz, Dreamgirls and Hamilton and see how the show paved the way for Black actors on stage and screen
  • Discover the role theater plays in America’s consciousness and how the industry has narrowed the opening created by Shuffle Along over the last century
Image Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Archives

Footnotes is the story of how composers Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, along with comedians Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles, overcame poverty, racism, and violence to harness the energy of the Harlem Renaissance and produce a runaway Broadway hit that launched the careers of many of the twentieth century’s most beloved Black performers. Born in the shadow of slavery and establishing their careers at a time of increasing demands for racial justice, Sissle, Blake, Miller, and Lyles broke down innumerable barriers between Black and white communities at a crucial point in our history. Footnotes captures a moment in time that is relevant in so many ways today and underscores the importance of diverse creators living in their authentic truth and sharing stories they want to tell.

Author and journalist Caseen Gaines has written for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and NY Mag. He holds an MA from Rutgers University in American Studies, focusing on racial representations in popular culture.

Footnotes Book Launch

Next, check out the 10 Oldest Broadway Theaters in Times Square