Musical theater in African American communities can be traced back to minstrel shows. Minstrel shows were series of songs and dances performed by both black and whites. These shows degraded and humiliated the black culture. In the theater life African American entertainers were discriminated and not even allowed to sit in the audience. They were forced to wear their costumes at all times and when touring they were often forced to sleep outside since they couldn’t sleep in white hotels.
Shuffle along was the first ever Broadway Musical with a completely all black cast. It premiered on Broadway in 1921. This musical became very popular and ran over 484 times on broadway. The musical was written by by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle and based on the original book by Flournov Miller and Aubrey Lyles. The four who had collabed on this musical had never written a play nor performed on broadway so everything was new to them. they were all Vaudeville veterans.