It begins its “celebrity” nights with singer Fantasia, the first featured guest who in in the cast until February 9 when pop singer K.D. Lang will replace her. Then, Toni Braxton and Babyface join the cast from March 18-30. “After Midnight” is not Fantasia’s Broadway debut; the “American Idol” winner also starred as Celie in “The Color Purple.” In this production, she sings several songs, including a poignant version of “Stormy Weather” as well as a rollicking version of the Cab Calloway chestnut, “Zaz Zuh Zaz.”
Those who dislike the scratchier side to Fantasia’s voice will be amazed by her transformation into a jazz singer under the direction of Marsalis. He has toned down her R&B theatrics and brought out the tonal quality that makes her voice so uniquely beautiful. It’s a star turn for the once embattled singer and she makes the best of it.
Singer Adriane Lenox does a ribald turn in “Women Be Wise” and tap dancing is all but revived by the talents of folks like Christopher Broughton and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards. But it’s the varied and talented cast in its totality that make this Broadway show one you can’t miss. The Cotton Club lives again… and it’s wonderful.