The new Broadway revue After Midnight squeezes so much song, dance, and fanfare into just 90 minutes that you'll need to catch your breath at the show's ending. It's so fast-paced, and so full of life, that you'll find yourself marveling at the sheer amounts of talent you're witnessing all at once on stage. The Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra sets the scene both in tone and methodology, while Dule Hill acts as the master of ceremonies as well as a dancer among the company of 25 performing alongside. Together, it all forms a night to truly remember.
In total, 26 songs are played, and danced to in the popular forms of swing, ballet, jazz, classical, and so much more. Fantasia Barrino steals the show for her four songs, propelling the evening to a different pitch with her one-of-a-kind voice. Fantasia is just one of many who successfully transport the audience back to the Depression-era Cotton Club nightclub. Combined with the traiditional tap and swing dancing, the performance also features its fair share of amazing breakdancing that illustrates some more modern flair on top.
Hill serves as more than just a host for the night, though. He adds some wonderful poetry from the likes of Harlem Langston Hughes and even shows off some of his acting chops, when called upon. Director and choreographer Warren Carlyle regularly changes the stage to put on different settings and moods.
Among the show's most memorable moments are the recurring tap dancing served up by Daniel J. Watts and Phillip Attmore, Adriane Lenox's understated yet hilarious warning "Women Be Wise," a breakdancing battle between Julius "iGlide" Chisholm and Virgil "Lil' O'" Gadson, and an unforgettable "Black and Tan Fantasy" from Karine Plantadit. There's a little bit of everything for everyone. The costumes from Isabel Toledo are only the cherry on top, each more intricate and masterfully-crafted than the next one.
Hill adapts a famous Hughes quote midway through the show, saying, "Birthing is hard and dying is mean so get yourself a little dancing in between." A perfect summary for an eventful night.