In the glow of its seven Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical, producers Scott Sanders and Wynton Marsalis have announced that a trio of true music legends will make their way to Broadway this summer in After Midnight. Multi-award winning icons Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole (making her Broadway debut) are set to join the illustrious roster of “Special Guest Star” vocalists in the red hot Broadway musical.
Combined, this trio of legends boasts 22 platinum and gold records, 18 Grammy Awards, and almost 300 million albums sold worldwide. Ms. LaBelle will play performances from June 10 – 29, Ms. Knight July 8 – August 3, and Ms. Cole August 5 – 31 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre (256 W 47th Street). Conceived by Jack Viertel, and directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, After Midnight began preview performances on Friday, October 18, 2013, and opened to the best reviews of any new musical this season on Sunday, November 3, 2013.
On Tuesday, the production garnered seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Warren Carlyle), Best Choreography (Warren Carlyle), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Adriane Lenox), Best Costume Design of a Musical (Isabel Toledo), Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Howell Binkley) and Best Sound Design of a Musical (Peter Hylenski). Last week, After Midnight received five Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical (Warren Carlyle), Outstanding Choreographer (Warren Carlyle), Outstanding Costume Design (Isabel Toledo), and Outstanding Lighting Design (Howell Binkley), as well as Drama League nominations for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off Broadway Musical and the Distinguished Performance Award (Adriane Lenox), and three Drama Desk nominations including Outstanding Revue, Outstanding Choreography (Warren Carlyle) and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Adriane Lenox).
After Midnight takes the sexy, smoky glamour of the original Jazz Age and catapults it into a whole new era of heart-pounding, mind-blowing entertainment for modern Broadway audiences. Refracted through a contemporary lens, After Midnight celebrates Duke Ellington’s years at the Cotton Club using his original arrangements and performed by a world-class big band of 17 musicians hand-picked by living jazz legend, Wynton Marsalis. The timeless tunes set against a narrative of Langston Hughes poetry provide an authentic backdrop for an array of cutting-edge performances by 25 sensational vocalists and dancers, including special guest stars, whose interpretations shatter everything you think you know about music, nightlife and Broadway.
In its heyday, the Cotton Club featured a cavalcade of guest stars each week, known then as “Celebrity Nights.” After Midnight reintroduces this exciting tradition by presenting stars of today in limited engagement appearances throughout the musical’s run. Currently starring multi-platinum recording artist and actress Vanessa Williams through May 11, 2014 (see trailer below), Grammy Award-winning recording artist Fantasia began the tradition (10/18/13 – 2/9/14), followed by four-time Grammy Award-winning icon k.d. lang (2/11/14 – 3/9/14) and Grammy Award-winners Toni Braxton & Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (3/17/14 – 3/30/14). Fantasia will be returning to After Midnight for a four-week return engagement (5/13/14 – 6/8/14) leading up to the Tony Awards on June 9, 2014.
After Midnight features musical direction by Wynton Marsalis, musical supervision by Daryl Waters and direction and choreography by Warren Carlyle. The design team for After Midnight includes prolific design couple Isabel Toledo (costumes) and Ruben Toledo, Tony Award-winners John Lee Beatty (set design) and Howell Binkley (lighting design) and Peter Hylenski (sound).
After Midnight is produced by Scott Sanders Productions, and Wynton Marsalis, in association with Marks-Moore-Turnbull Group; Stephen and Ruth Hendel; Tom Kirdahy.
The performance schedule for After Midnight is as follows: Tuesdays – Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm, and matinee performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2:00 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets range from $60.00 to $142.00 (premium tickets are $199) and are available via Ticketmaster and in persona at the Brooks Atkinson box office. Tickets for groups of 12 or more can be purchased by calling 212-239-6262 or 800-432-7780.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.