After Midnight, starring Fantasia and Dulé Hill (of “Psych”) is a new musical that celebrates Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club years and takes the sexy and smoky glamour of the Jazz Age and displays it through a contemporary lens. Produced by Scott Sanders and living jazz legend, Wynton Marsalis, After Midnight sets timeless jazz tunes against a narrative of Langston Hughes poetry, allowing the 25 vocalists and dancers and 16 hand-picked musicians(Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars) to conduct a live jam session from the past. And honestly, they steal the show! It’s one of the coolest Broadway experiences I’ve had in a long time.
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The show runs through about 25 jazz songs, of which Fantasia lends her hauntingly gorgeous voice to four of them, convincing you that she needs to release a jazz album. There’s one point where Fantasia sings “Zaz Zuh Zaz” (by Cab Calloway and Harry White) and she flirts with the quartet and you can’t help but fall in love with her. But one of the most standout performances, next to the delicious vocals Fantasia offers is Adriane Lenox, who was incredibly hilarious and a firecracker on stage. One of the songs she laid her comedic genius on was “Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night” (by Sidney Easton and Ethel Waters), which detailed her instructions to her no-good man, who came knocking on her door and she was none too pleased.
This incredible show features a special guest and Fantasia’s run is up on February 9th, but she will be succeeded by K. D. Lang (Feb. 11-Mar. 9) and then Toni Braxton & Babyface (Mar. 18-30) Future guest stars will be announced soon. Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, this high-energy show boasts a company of 42 incredible singers, dancers (with rubberband limbs) and musicians. They take the stage and burn it down in a white hot heat that will pull you to the edge of your seat. It’s a sticky sweet tale laced in show-stopping performances. The dances ranged from ballet to street to tap and you never knew what was coming next. Blink and you’ll miss ballet great, Desmond Richardson, who lends his gravity-deyfing moves to “The Mooche.”
I know that many reviews call amazing shows a must-see, but with this show switching up featured guests, it’s a must-see again and again and again!
Venue: Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York (runs indefinitely)
Cast: Fantasia Barrino, Dule Hill, Adriane Lenox, Karine Plantadit, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Julius “iGlide” Chisolm, Virgil “Lil’O” Gadson, Jared Grimes, Marijah Abney, Phillip Attmore, Everett Bradley, Christopher Broughton, Taeler Elyse Cyrus, C.K. Edwards, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Bahiyah Hibah, Rosena M. Hill Jackson, Monroe Kent III, Erin N. Moore, Cedric Neal, Bryonha Marie Parham, T. Oliver Reid, Desmond Richardson, Monique Smith, Daniel J. Watts
Director-choreographer: Warren Carlyle
Conceived by Jack Viertel
Text: Langston Hughes
Set designer: John Lee Beatty
Lighting designer: Howell Binkley
Costume designer: Isabel Toledo
Sound designer: Peter Hylenski
Orchestrations: Larry Hochman
Music supervisor: Daryl Waters
Presented by Scott Sander Productions, Wynton Marsalis, Roy Furman, Candy Spelling, Starry Night Entertainment, Hal Newman, Allan S. Gordon/Adam S. Gordon, James L. Nederlander, Robert K. Kraft, Catherine & Fred Adler, Robert Appel, Jeffrey Bolton, Scott M. Delman, James Fantaci, Ted Liebowitz, Stephanie P. McClelland, Sandy Block, Carol Fineman, in association with Marks-Moore Turnbull Group, Stephen & Ruth Hendel, Tom Kirdahy
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Check Out This Gallery Of Toni Braxton’s Best Songs In Preparation Of Her “After Midnight” Appearance:
Toni Braxton's Top 15 Songs
1. Toni Braxton's Best Songs
In the 90s Toni Braxton combined her one-of-a-kind voice with Babyface's innate songwriting abilities to create songs that will forever be regarded as classic. Toni and Babyface make magic whenever they're together, and their latest collaboration "LOVE, MARRIAGE & DIVORCE" is no short of epic. Toni and Babyface will perform at HelloBeautiful InterludesLIVE and we can't help but reminisce on Toni's best songs.
2. Toni Braxton & Babyface- "Hurt You"
15. Toni and Babyface reunited this year to collaborate on "Love, Marriage & Divorce" and their first single "Hurt You" is a testament to their undeniable chemistry. The highly anticipated disc is set to hit stores in February 2014. Needless to say, we can't wait!
3. Toni Braxton- "How Could An Angel Break My Heart"
14. The Babyface penned track"How Could An Angel Break My Heart" features Kenny G on the saxophone. At the time of this single's release, her album "Secrets" had reached eight-time platinum status by the RIAA.
4. Toni Braxton- "Spanish Guitar"
13. The masterminds behind Toni's "Unbreak My Heart," Diane Warren and David Foster had a hand in creating Toni's 2000 single "Spanish Guitar" off her third studio album "Heat."
5. Toni Braxton- "He Wasn't Man Enough For Me"
12. Toni took an upbeat approach to the new millenium with the release of "He Wasn't Man Enough For Me." The spicy hit thrust Toni back into the game. The song had international success.
6. Toni Braxton- "You Mean The World To Me''
11. "You Mean The World To Me" peaked at number seven on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs giving Toni an array of hits from her debut project "Toni Braxton."
7. "Breath Again"
10. Released in November of 93, "Breath Again," became the most successful single released off of Toni's self-title debut album.
8. Toni Braxton- "How Many Ways"
9. Shemar Moore was Toni's muse for the visuals behind "How Many Ways" off her "Toni Braxton" disc. The song was written and produced by sister Tamar Braxton's hubby Vince Herbert. "1,2 I love you, 3,4 so much more, 5,6 I can't get enough of this, 7, let me show that my love can you take you to heaven, 8,9,10 let's start all over again," she sings.
9. Toni Braxton- "Another Sad Love Song"
8. "Another Sad Love Song" was the first official single from Toni Braxton's self-titled debut album, "Toni Braxton" and because of that it ranks high on our list.
10. Toni Braxton- "Seven Whole Days"
7. Toni Braxton's "Seven Whole Days" features her sisters Tamar, Towanda, Traci and Trina in the background of her video. The third single off her first disc "Toni Braxton" was ineligible to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, and only managed to chart on the Hot 100 Airplay at number forty-eight in early March 1994.
11. Toni Braxton- "Let It flow"
6. The "Waiting To Exhale" soundtrack wouldn't have been the same without Toni's inspiring and therapeutic song "Let It Flow." It's also featured on her 13 times platinum album "Secrets."
12. Toni Braxton- "I Love Me Some Him"
5. We knew the love was real when Toni said, "I Love Me Some Him." Outside of the vulnerable lyrics, it's a sweet song.
13. Toni Braxton- "You're Making Me High"
4. "You're Making Me High" gave Toni her first number one hit song in 1996. The "Secrets" track showed Toni in a sexier, more edgy light.
14. Toni Braxton- "Just Be A Man About It"
3. A female anthem that transcends generations, "Just Be A Man About It" starred Dr. Dre in the visuals as a more mature Toni braved the ins and outs of a one-sided relationship.
15. Toni Braxton- "Unbreak My Heart"
2. Toni's biggest selling single "Unbreak My Heart" solidified Toni's place in mainstream music. Tyson Beckford starred in the video, giving it that extra push to the top o the charts.
16. Toni Braxton- "Love Shoulda Brought You Home"
1. "Love Shoulda Brought You Home," was a direct line from the 1992 film "Boomerang," and became the iconic line for women everywhere. The single became a top forty hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and her second consecutive top five hit on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs