Fantasia presently stars in "After Midnight." Credit: Matthew Murphy
Last Sunday saw the opening of “After Midnight,” a new composition show featuring the best of Harlem’s Golden Age, set to the music of The Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars led by artistic director Wynton Marsalis. It's both directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with music supervision from Daryl Waters.
The current leads are host Dule Hill (“The West Wing”) and guest star Fantasia (“American Idol”), but the play will rotate in other headliners next year such as K.D. Lang, Toni Braxton and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.
The show comprises 90 minutes of vignettes that exhibit the popular dance styles and music of the period. Langston Hughes’ prose introduces and ties together certain performances. Fashion designer Isabel Toledo created the period-specific costumes with her own stylistic twist.
The play is just long enough to be worth the ticket price and just short enough not to get stale, with no intermission. There’s a frank sincerity to the entertainment that doesn’t let you forget that you’re also taking in historical culture from an important bygone age.