BWW Flashback: AFTER MIDNIGHT Closes on Broadway Today
Producers Scott Sanders and Wynton Marsalis brought us After Midnight, directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle and featuring the big-band sounds of nine-time Grammy Award-winner Wynton Marsalis' Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars. After 273 performances, After Midnight is closing today. Below, BroadwayWorld takes you back through After Midnight's beginnings on Broadway!
The wildly eclectic opening night cast of After Midnight included Grammy Award-winning "Special Guest Star" vocalist Fantasia, Dulé Hill, who will lead the audience through the heat and glamour of the Harlem Renaissance as "The Host," Tony Award-winner Adriane Lenox reprising her critically acclaimed role as the blues singer with a sense of humor; Julius "Iglide" Chisolm from the renowned dance crew RemoteKontrol, reimagining Harlem's popular 1920's "snakehips" dance; hip hop starVirgil J. Gadson; Tony Award-nominated modern dancer Karine Plantadit; Michael Jackson's tap coach Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and tap-dancing choreographer Jared Grimes in stunning tap routines. The cast will also include a male quartet comprised of Grammy Award-nominee and member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band Everett Bradley, Cedric Neal, T. Oliver Reid and Monroe Kent III; a female trio of Broadway vets including Carmen Ruby Floyd, Rosena M. Hill Jackson and Bryonha Marie Parham; and accomplished dancers Marija Abney, Phillip Attmore, Christopher Broughton,Taeler Elyse Cyrus, C.K. Edwards, Danielle Herbert,Bahiyah Hibah, David Jennings, Erin N. Moore,Justin Prescott, Tony Award nominee Desmond Richardson, Allysa Shorte, Monique Smith and Daniel J. Watts. Throughout the run, the cast was also joined by k.d. lang, Vanessa Williams, Toni Braxton, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, and Patti LaBelle.
The evocative After Midnight took the sexy, smoky glamour of the original Jazz Age and catapulted it into a whole new era of heart-pounding, mind-blowing entertainment for modern Broadway audiences. Refracted through a contemporary lens, After Midnight celebrated 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 provided 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.
The design team for After Midnight included prolific design couple Isabel Toledo (costumes) and Ruben Toledo, Tony Award-winners John Lee Beatty (set design), Howell Binkley (lighting design) and Peter Hylenski (sound).
Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy
After Midnight began previews on Friday, October 18, 2013 at Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre (256 W 47th St) and officially opened November 3, 2013. Scroll down for some pictures of the first rehearsal taken by Zac Payne.
Just before opening night, BroadwayWorld got a first look of the cast onstage (photos by Matthew Murphy), plus video highlights from the show!
Afterwards, Marsalis and Fantasia discussed After Midnight and what the music means to them.
After Midnight was nominated for 7 Tony Awards! Tommy Tune hosted a dinner in celebration of their nominations and BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge caught up with choreographer Warren Carlyle (who ended up winning Best Choreography).
Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, released "Duke Ellington: The Original Recordings That Inspired The Broadway Hit After Midnight" on May 27th on iTunes (iTunes.com/DukeEllington). The CD version hit stores June 17th.
Recently, following a performance on June 4, the cast and band of Broadway's After Midnight paraded to 47th and Broadway where West 47th Street was renamed "DUKE ELLINGTON WAY" in an official Street Sign Unveiling Ceremony at the corner of 47th and Broadway. Musicians from the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars (including Arthur Baron, one of the last surviving members from Ellington's orchestra) played two Ellington favorites for all of Times Square, in celebration. Photos by Jennifer Broski.
Even with its closing today, there is no doubt After Midnight has made a lasting impact this season.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski