By Michael Gioia
29 Jun 2014
At the time of closing, After Midnight will have played 19 previews and 272 regular performances. As previously reported, the production closes at a financial loss, but investors may recoup if a national tour of the show, which is in discussions, proves to be a success.
The Jazz Age musical revue was to bring in a roster of Grammy Award-winning divas this summer, including Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole. LaBelle followed Fantasia Barrino (The Color Purple, "American Idol"), who returned to After Midnight May 13-June 8. Knight was scheduled to play July 8-Aug. 3 with Cole performing Aug. 5-31.
Conceived by Jack Viertel and directed and choreographed by 2014 Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, After Midnight began previews Oct. 18, 2013, and opened to critical praise Nov. 3, 2013. The production was nominated for seven Tony Awards, winning for Best Choreography (Carlyle).
After Midnight, according to press notes, "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."
The musical reintroduced the Cotton Club tradition of rotating celebrity guest stars and featured Vanessa Williams (April 1-May 11), Barrino (Oct. 18, 2013-Feb. 9), four-time Grammy Award winner k.d. lang (Feb. 11-March 9) and Grammy Award winners Toni Braxton and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds (March 17-30).