This 1920s-1930s Broadway musical revue gets it done right. It is very tricky on Broadway to showcase a musical with no storyline and deliver each act to create a patchwork of musical art. After Midnight is set to the tunes of the Duke Ellington era and takes place in Harlem at the Cotton Club. This show achieves the enjoyable for the fickle Broadway goer (i.e., Me).
Fantasia delivers on four jazz tunes that imprinted a smile on my face during each performance. Her voice was controlled and exquisitely reminiscent of that moment in time (not that I really know as I was not born then, however I have a vivid imagination – y’all). She puts it down on Cab Calloway’s Zaz Zuh Zaz. I couldn’t help to think – her vocal coach needs to get a gold star. Honey child’s scat singing was on point! The maturity of her stage performance clobbered me with the fleeting thought of how I am blossoming in age (you got to put that positive spin on getting older) and what I expect from my Broadway experience.
Dulé Hill was delightful and endearing serving as the emcee for the evening – making good on the delivery of his spoken words, singing and dancing. I didn’t know the brother has levels to his talent.
Fantasia and Dulé are surrounded by array of talent and each performance lends to this delightful musical journey. Virgil J. Gadson the hip hop acrobatic dancer trampolines through his performances with strength and agility of the greatest of yoga masters. The talented Adriane Lenox is comical in the performance of Sippie Wallace’s “Women Be Wise”. Adriane delivers a bolt of lightning as she concludes her number with “fuck you”. Carmen Ruby Floyd sings the wordless tune “Creole Love Call” by Duke Ellington and delivers on sounds that are still delighting my soul. Another notable talent to mention is Jared Grimes. This tap dancing phenomenon takes you to higher heights with his flying splits and rhythmic tap dance moves. As I think back, there were many gifted performers on stage including the Wynton Marsalis Jazz orchestra. The focal point of the set.
I give After Midnight a B R A V* See Fantasia on Broadway before it is too late. Her last musical performance will be on Sunday, 9 February 2014.
Fine print: The Brooks Atkinson Theater was built a million years ago consequently your knees will be in the back of the person in front of you. There is no intermission, therefore handle your business beforehand. The bathrooms are located on the 2nd floor with the exception of a handicap toilet in the back on the ground floor.
*My Broadway rating scale consists of the letters B R A V O – The more letters present the better the show.
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