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'After Midnight' closing after eight-month run

Broadway’s Jazz Age revue After Midnight is swinging through its final performances. The Tony-winning show will close its doors June 29.

Nominated for seven Tonys this year, the musical took home the award for best choreography. It also won two Drama Desk Awards, four Astaire Awards, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for best choreography.

Celebrating Duke Ellington’s years at the famous Cotton Club, After Midnight features the jazz legend’s music performed by a 17-piece band, as well as poetry by Langston Hughes. Patti LaBelle has joined the show’s roster of special guest star vocalists, which has included Fantasia, k.d. lang, Toni Braxton, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and Vanessa Williams. LaBelle will appear through the musical’s final performance.

By the end of its run, After Midnight will have played for 19 previews and 272 regular performances over eight months.

Tony Awards: See every musical performance

There’s plenty of Tony Awards coverage to go around—you can peruse through EW’s list of the best and worst moments, or re-live Sunday’s ceremony through our live blog—but, let’s be real. Everyone just wants to see the performances.

Worry no more. Here are all of this year’s musical performances from the 68th Tony Awards.

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Inside the 2014 Tony Nominees: Best Musical

As we look ahead to the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 8, EW takes a closer look at this season’s nominated selection of new musicals, plays, and revivals, all of which will be competing for Broadway’s highest honor. Today, we dive into this year’s nominees for Best Musical.

After Midnight 

Opened: Nov. 3, 2013
Starring: Adriane Lenox, Dulé Hill, and a rotating list of celebrity guest stars including Fantasia Barrino, Gladys Knight, and Patti LaBelle
Concept by: Jack Viertel
Directed and Choreographed by: Warren Carlyle
Synopsis: Celebrating Duke Ellington’s years at the Cotton Club, After Midnight is a sexy and smoky musical revue of the Jazz Age. With original arrangements of Ellington classics and Langston Hughes’ poetry, After Midnight features 25 dancers and singers and a 17-piece big band picked by jazz legend Wynton Marsalis.
EW review: “But for the most part, After Midnight is a show that’s as light on its feet as its very talented ensemble. Be sure to hang around after the curtain call for Ellington’s ‘Rockin’ in Rhythm,’ a kind of it-ain’t-overture by Marsalis’ incomparable orchestra that is sure to put a spring in your step for days to come.”  A- –Thom Geier
Listen to this: “Women Be Wise”
Nominations: 7 — Best Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Adriane Lenox), Best Costume Design of a Musical (Isabel Toledo), Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Howell Binkley), Best Sound Design of a Musical (Peter Hylenski), Best Direction of a Musical (Warren Carlyle), and Best Choreography (Warren Carlyle)
Fun Fact: After Midnight was first performed as part of New York City Center’s Encores! program under the title Cotton Club Parade in 2011 and 2012.
Odds of Winning: A long shot for the gold.
Fantasia Barrino on her affinity for jazz“Jazz music is a different language — it’s not the same as R&B, it’s not the same as most music that a lot of us listen to, especially our young people, but I feel like it’s what people need to see because it’s where it all started. It’s so elegant, it’s so classy, it’s so sexy, and most of all, it stands for those people who came before us and who went through so much. Music was their way of feeling like they could make it through.”
Warren Carlyle on what attracted him to the show: “It’s been an amazing journey. I started working on it about 4 years ago. It’s been an amazing journey of development. I took the job, I wanted to do it because of the music, the music is really what attracted me. I don’t know, I love this music. It’s incredible. It’s a giant Broadway musical. All the story is told through music and dance. There’s a little bit of poetry that weaves it together but it’s sort of a wild artistic adventure.”

NEXT: Aladdin 

'After Midnight': Watch jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis cameo with Adriane Lenox -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

It’s always a party at After Midnight‘s The Cotton Club — and those who happened to be at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre Wednesday night to see some tap dancing and hear some jazz, got a fun surprise.

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This Week on Stage: Tony nominations aftermath and fun facts!

tony-award-statue

The 2014 Tony nominations were announced on Tuesday, and left many elated and just as many puzzled. No Denzel? Or Daniel Radcliffe? And nothing for everyone’s favorite traveling NYC duo? But there were some wonderful surprises (four acting nods for Twelfth Night!) and the lack of frontrunners (minus Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston, and perhaps this divine gal) will make the Hugh Jackman-hosted ceremony on CBS June 8 full of nail-biters. But here are some fun trivia bits about this year you can chew over until then (many of them compiled by our own Jake Perlman): READ FULL STORY

Listen to Fantasia and Dule Hill on three tracks of Broadway's 'After Midnight' -- EXCLUSIVE FIRST LISTEN

Tony nominations are just around the corner, and one of the titles you can bet will yield a fair amount of ‘em is After Midnight, the marvelously assembled one-act jazz revue now playing on Broadway. Since opening last fall, the musical has remained one of the most acclaimed shows of the season, and remained quite relevant due to a bright cast of rotating guest performers (recent months have seen k.d. lang, Toni Braxton, Babyface, and Vanessa Williams, the latter currently playing through May 11). READ FULL STORY

Vanessa Williams sings 'Stormy Weather' in Broadway's 'After Midnight' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Six months into its run and still knockin’ the crowd out, the dance-packed jazz revue After Midnight has proven an enduring threat come awards time. One of the reasons behind this is the uniquely chosen guest artists who have added new luster to the already bright show, most recently Toni Braxton, k.d. lang and original guest star Fantasia (who is coming back May 13-June 8).

But if you’re seeing the show between now and May 11, you are in for a treat, as stage-and-screen star Vanessa Williams (a multiple Tony, Grammy and Emmy nominee) essays the guest spot, and in the EW exclusive clip below, get ready to swoon for the seemingly ageless beauty’s take on the Arlen/Koehler classic “Stormy Weather”. Her silky performance style here (in one of Isabel and Ruben Toledo’s drop-dead costumes, no less) will make you momentarily forget the classic takes by Ethel Waters, Lena Horne, and Billie Holiday, and remind you Ms. Williams is always perfectly at home on a Broadway stage. READ FULL STORY

Broadway Box Office: 'Bronx Bombers' is striking out with audiences, while Shakespeare hits a grand slam

Broadway’s New York Yankees love-fest Bronx Bombers, starring Peter Scolari as Yogi Berra, isn’t exactly pulling major-league numbers at the box office. In the first full week since its Feb. 6 opening, the new drama took in a measly $177,559, according to figures released by The Broadway League. That’s less than a quarter of the potential gross at Circle in the Square (one of Broadway’s smallest theaters) — and does not bode well for its future.

The biggest surprise this winter has been the season’s unlikeliest but very palpable hit(s): the Mark Rylance-led productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III playing in repertory (and breaking house sales records) at the Belasco. For the week ending Feb. 16, the shows grossed a remarkable $944,755 — a tally that exceeds all of the season’s new musicals. The takings have topped the potential gross for the Broadhurst for the third straight week, suggesting that producers have been able to goose their earnings by selling ever more premium tickets at $247 a pop. READ FULL STORY

Seven must-see Broadway (and Off Broadway) shows you can ACTUALLY get tickets to this December

If you, like my family, have made plans to head to New York this December but have not planned far enough ahead to, say, buy tickets to a Broadway show, you’re in luck: there are plenty of others like you who are spontaneous theatergoers. Well, fly-by-night patrons in search of available, affordable, AND quality tickets need not worry about getting last pick, a la an unfortunate dodgeball game or holiday dinner behind greedier and more robust relatives.

EW’s stage team has highlighted seven shows (four Broadway, three Off Broadway) that you should — and more importantly can – still get tickets to upon your visit these next few weeks in December. They’re sensational shows, only made better by the fact that you don’t necessarily have to wait in the cold at TKTS or book months in advance to enjoy the experiences that people may still be fond of next year. (Also, stick around EW.com next week for our editor’s Top 10 stage picks of 2013!)

Big Fish (EW’s Grade: B+)
You only have a few more weeks to catch this extraordinarily inventive and heartstring-tugging love letter to the grand traditions of musical theater (with the production values of 2013 thrown in, of course) before it closes December 29. Two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz is utterly mesmerizing, as are the supporting cast (like the dynamite Kate Baldwin, whose name you’ll be hearing more and more) and an old-fashioned score by Andrew Lippa that will have you humming for days. READ FULL STORY

k.d. lang joins Broadway's 'After Midnight'

Grammy-winning singer k.d. lang has sung everything from country songs to folk and torch songs. Now she’s about to unleash her jazz side — on Broadway.

The Canadian singer-songwriter will take over from Fantasia Barrino as the second star vocalist in After Midnight, a musical celebrating Duke Ellington’s years at the famous Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem. Lang starts performances Feb. 11 and will end her run March 9.

Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle with musical direction by Wynton Marsalis, the show appeared off-Broadway last year at New York City Center under the name Cotton Club Parade. Songs include “Stormy Weather,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” and “I’ve Got the World on a String.” The show stars Dulé Hill, who will play the host of the show.

Performances start Oct. 18 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, with an official opening night set for Nov. 3.
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