After Midnight Lets It All Hang Out

Everything about After Midnight, the nightclub floor show transplanted from City Center's Encores series that's passing itself off as a musical, is appealing, especially the work of designers John Lee Beatty, Isabel Toledo, and Howell Binkley. There's no book to speak of; Dulé Hill speaks a few lines cribbed from the poetry of Langston Hughes. But that's just as well. The music — Duke Ellington's arrangements from Harlem's Cotton Club and witty selections from the American songbook orchestrated by David Berger — and the dancing, ably squeezed by director Warren Conover into a narrow sliver of stage in front of Beatty's rolling bandstand cradling the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars, do the work.

Matthew Murphy

Location Info


Brooks Atkinson Theatre

256 W. 47th St.
New York, NY 10036

Category: Theaters

Region: West 40s


After Midnight
Conceived by Jack Viertel
Brooks Atkinson Theatre
256 West 47th Street

High points include Adriane Lenox's rendition of "Women Be Wise" (a raunchy anthem by the late Texas blueswoman Sippie Wallace); tap and b-boy stylings by Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards, Jared Grimes, Julius "Glide" Chisolm, and Virgil "Lil' O" Gadson; the hapless beauty of dancer Karine Plantadit; and the crooning of Fantasia Barrino, guest star in this top-flight boîte (other singers, including k.d. lang, will rotate in as the show runs and runs). Evoking Depression-era Manhattan, Toledo's over-the-top gowns, snappy suits, and feathered burlesque fantasies produce a class act that's not afraid to get funky, with a welcome flash of trash.

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