A sleek and stylish musical revue that celebrates the hi-dee-ho heyday of Harlem nightlife during the 1930s, “After Midnight” smartly melds some fine vintage tunes, plenty of high-flying choreography and a company of personable entertainers. “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino, in luscious voice, currently guest stars in the new Broadway production at the Brooks Atkinson Theater through January, to be followed by K.D. Lang and other names as the show continues into the spring.
Yet the really big star of the production is conductor Daryl Waters’ terrific 17-member orchestra known as The Jazz at Lincoln Center All Stars. Hand-picked by Wynton Marsalis, they perform onstage against a simply elegant setting designed by John Lee Beatty. The orchestra’s lush, propulsive and sinuous versions of classics mostly by Duke Ellington and Harold Arlen, among others, is marvelous to hear.
Like its décor, simplicity and elegance are the hallmarks of this revue that is choreographed and directed by Warren Carlyle. The fast-moving show runs a mere 90 minutes and presents no storyline but instead lets loose with more than two dozen numbers ranging from “Diga Diga Doo” to the “Creole Love Call.”