Vanessa Williams Plays Final Performance in After Midnight May 11; Fantasia Barrino In the Wings

News   Vanessa Williams Plays Final Performance in After Midnight May 11; Fantasia Barrino In the Wings
Multi-platinum recording artist and actress Vanessa Williams, a Tony Award nominee for Into the Woods, plays her final performance as the special guest-star vocalist in the Tony-nominated musical revue After Midnight May 11. 

Vanessa Williams
Vanessa Williams Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

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. 

Watch the cast's "Just For Tonight" music-video tribute to Williams

Following Barrino, After Midnight will welcome Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole (in her Broadway debut) as guest-star vocalists. LaBelle will play June 10-29 with Knight performing July 8-Aug. 3 and Cole performing Aug. 5-31 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

Conceived by Jack Viertel and directed and choreographed by 2014 Tony nominee Warren Carlyle, After Midnight began previews Oct. 18, 2013, and opened to critical praise Nov. 3, 2013.

The production was Tony-nominated for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Carlyle), Best Choreography (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). After Midnight received Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical (Carlyle), Outstanding Choreographer (Carlyle), Outstanding Costume Design (Toledo) and Outstanding Lighting Design (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 for Outstanding Revue, Outstanding Choreography (Carlyle) and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Lenox).

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 reintroduces the Cotton Club tradition of rotating celebrity guest stars and has featured 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). 


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