Aubrey Lyles was an American vaudeville performer, songwriter, lyricist, and playwright. He was born in Jackson, Tennessee and started his career as a medical student at Fisk University, Nashville. However, he soon began to perform with his friend, Flournoy Miller, and the duo formed a comedy act which took them to Chicago in 1905, where they were hired to be resident playwrights at Pekin Theater Stock Company. Lyles and Miller performed with the company for several years (usually in blackface) and established their stock characters of Sam Peck and Steve Jenkins.
In 1909, the duo moved to New York City and performed on the vaudeville circuit. They also continued writing and performing plays during this time. Then, in 1921, they found themselves with a huge success on their hands. Their musical Shuffle Along (with music and lyrics by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle) broke the mold and changed the course of African-American musical theatre performers forever. The show ran in theatres until 1924 and Lyles and Miller continued to write and perform together during and after this time. Shows included Runnin' Wild (1923), Rang Tang (1927), and Keep Shuffling (1928), which featured music by Fats Waller.
Lyles and Miller broke up their double act in 1928, but later reunited to perform on radio. They started to reignite Shuffle Along with a new show entitled Shuffle Along of 1933, but Lyles died in 1932 before they could complete the project.
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