Will Patti LaBelle Guest Star in Broadway's After Midnight?
By Michael Gioia
Grammy Award-winning artist Patti LaBelle, who was last seen on Broadway in Fela!, will reportedly be a guest star in the Broadway musical revue After Midnight, according to Out.com.
LaBelle, who has also been seen on Broadway in Your Arms Too Short to Box with God and her solo shows, Patti LaBelle on Broadway and Patti LaBelle, recently attended a performance of After Midnight and will step into the headliner slot.
Representatives issued a statement to Playbill.com that reads, "Ms. LaBelle did see and love After Midnight, and the idea of her being in the show is beyond exciting, but we have no other news to confirm at this time."
Multi-platinum recording artist and actress Vanessa Williams, who was Tony-nominated for her performance in Into the Woods, is currently the guest star vocalist in After Midnight.
She plays through May 11, and Grammy winner Fantasia Barrino (The Color Purple, "American Idol") — who opened the show (formerly titled Cotton Club Parade, the production conceived by Tony Award winner Jack Viertel that played two engagements at New York City Center) Nov. 3, 2013, at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre — will return May 13-June 8.
The new musical reintroduces the Cotton Club's tradition of welcoming the stars of today in limited engagements throughout its run. K.D. Lang made her Broadway debut with the production and was the second headliner. Grammy Award-winning artists Toni Braxton and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds played their final performances March 30.
Here's how producers Sanders and Marsalis bill the production: "Jazz is a state of mind. It's a structure for innovation, forward momentum and freedom. The evocative new musical After Midnight will take the sexy, smoky glamour of the original Jazz Age and catapult it into a whole new era of heart-pounding, mind-blowing entertainment for modern Broadway audiences. Refracted through a contemporary lens, After Midnight will celebrate 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 will provide an authentic backdrop for an array of cutting-edge performances by 25 sensational vocalists and dancers, including special guest stars, whose interpretations will shatter everything you think you know about music, nightlife and Broadway. Welcome to the new Jazz Age."
After Midnight includes pieces by jazz composers of the time, including Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields ("I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "Digga Digga Doo"), Harold Arlen ("Stormy Weather," "I've Got the World on a String," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea") and Duke Ellington ("Rockin' in Rhythm," "Cotton Club Stomp," "Black and Tan Fantasy" and "Creole Love Call").
For more information, visit AfterMidnightBroadway.com.
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