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Fantasia Barrino In Talks To Star In Broadway-Bound 'After Midnight' (aka 'Cotton Club Parade')

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 24, 2013 3:52 PM
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Fantasia Barino

The acclaimed production of Cotton Club Parade, which originally ran at New York City Center in November 2011, and then returned again last fall due to strong response, is heading to Broadway in October, and with a new name: After Midnight

Cast hasn't been announced yet, but the producers are said to be in talks with Fantasia Barrino, to star in the show. She last appeared on Broadway (her debut) as in the musical The Color Purple.

Conceived by Jack Viertel and presented under the auspices of City Center's Tony Award-winning Encores! series, Cotton Club Parade (or After Midnight) will once again be directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with music direction by Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis.

The original incarnation of the show featured the Jazz at Lincoln Center All Stars under the direction of Daryl Waters.

The show is described as a Broadway-style revue that recreates Duke Ellington's years at the famed Harlem nightclub in the 1920s and '30s, when the joint was jumping with shows featuring big band swing and blues. As in the original revues, After Midnight will feature singers, dancers and variety acts, with songs by the greatest jazz composers of the time, including Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, a young Harold Arlen, and of course, Duke Ellington himself.

It opened at City Center on November 18, 2011 for a limited, six-performance run and received unanimous rave reviews. It was hailed as "90 minutes of pure joy" by The Daily News and named Best Jazz Moment of 2011 by The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times said it "made period jazz come to life with a focused intensity and rhythmic savvy that left me open-mouthed with wonder."

In addition to Jared Grimes, Joshua Henry, Adriane Lenox and Amber Riley, the original Cotton Club Parade cast included Alexandria "Brinae Ali" Bradley, Andrew "Dr.Ew" Carter, Kyra Da Costa, Carmen Ruby Floyd, La Tanya Hall, Jeremiah "Supaman" Haynes, Christopher Jackson, Monroe Kent III, Karine Plantadit, T. Oliver Reid and Britton Smith, with Tanya Birl, Christopher Broughton, Wilkie Ferguson, Chanon Judson, Marielys Molina, Erin Moore, Monique Smith, Daniel J. Watts and J.L. Williams.

Updated casting (other than Fantasia Barino) for the show's Broadway run, as well as performance dates and theater will be announced later.

Good news for black theatre actors...

The $6 million After Midnight is scheduled to start previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theater on October 18, with an opening night on November 3.

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  • wordblaze | June 25, 2013 7:53 PMReply

    congrats to all involved. but...

    you know what I'd love to see on Broadway?

    Black folks NOT singing or dancing. Black folks who exist in the um...PRESENT.
    and Black storytelling through a stripped down forward moving narrative. THAT's what
    I'd like to see on Broadway. #keepdreamingkid!

  • FactChecker | June 24, 2013 4:56 PMReply

    This sounds very interesting, although the talent attached leaves a lot to be desired. She doesn't seem right for the role. I'd much rather see someone like Jasmine Guy who is lithe, gorgeous and has a certain je nais se quo that harkens back to the era.

    Years ago, following a "Different World," I saw Guy at the Warner Theatre in DC in "Chicago" and she KILLED IT!!! Such an awesome, talented dancer/singer/actress.

  • Julien | June 24, 2013 4:53 PMReply

    I hope Amber is tapped for the Broadway run too. With Deborah Cox as Josephine Baker in Spring of 2014, looks like black talent will be making their presence felt on B'way again.

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