The show got its start as a New York City Center experiment that went over big and so After Midnight, a nostalgic return to the heyday of the Cotton Club with a contemporary upgrade, has moved to Broadway. Directed by Jack Viertel, the production is complete with a big band on stage in the form of The Jazz at Lincoln Center All Stars and right now, the mesmerizing presence of K.D. Lang. Ms. Lang certain has a way with a song standard and croons and scats her way through “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love”, “Stormy Weather”, “Zaz Zuh Zaz” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” The K.D. Lang spot will be filled by various artists throughout the run, but Ms. Lang fits into the proceedings brilliantly at present.
The show surrounding the singing star could easily work on its own—After Midnight is its own star. Dulé Hill serves as master of ceremonies. His readings of bits from Langston Hughes could use a more resonant and compelling voice, but his dancing is exemplary. A pair of rubber band dancers, one tall and one short, bend and twist as if they had no bones to break. They are Julius “iGlide” Chisolm and Virgil “Lil’ O” Gadson. Domeshia Sumbry-Edwards is a hollerin’ gal with attitude who is immensely entertaining with “The Skrontch” by Duke Ellington, Henry Nemo and Irving Mills. A gang of tap dancers give a unique and humorous turn in a close body synchronized dance to Duke Ellington’s “Peckin’.” They are Phillip Attmore, Christopher Broughton, C.K. Edwards, Justin Prescott, Daniel J. Watts and Bobby Daye. The rest of the ensemble all have their turns and they sing and dance to a frenzy and delight us all.
The revue set design of attractive drapes and art deco trimmings is by John Lee Beatty and the assortment of fringed sack dresses, evening gowns and tuxedos designed by Isabel Toledo are chic to say the least. Howell Binkley’s light design adds saturated color to an otherwise black and white pallet to great effect. Last but not least, special attention must be paid to Warren Carlyle for his toe tapping choreography, which makes the show.
The revue is a slick ninety minutes, which is just right for this kind of entertainment. Anything longer would have been too much of a good thing. The creators of this lovely show have calibrated the production to perfection. For tickets and more information go to: