After Midnight: Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight & Natalie Cole

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Scott Sanders and Wynton Marsalis, the producers of Broadway musical After Midnight, which picked up 7 Tony nominations yesterday including Best Musical, have announced a trio of Grammy Award winning artists to guest star in the production at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre this Summer: Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole.

The 'Special Guest Star Vocalists' are scheduled to play the following dates:

Patti LaBelle will play performances from 10 Jun to 29 Jun 2014.

Gladys Knight wil play performances from 08 Jul to 03 Aug 2014,

Natalie Cole will play performances from 05 Aug to 31 Aug 2014.


Patti LaBelle is a two-time Grammy Award-winning singer, author, and actress who has spent over 50 years in the music industry. LaBelle spent 16 years as lead singer of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, who changed their name to Labelle in the early 1970s and released the iconic disco song "Lady Marmalade".
LaBelle started her solo career shortly after the group disbanded in 1977 and crossed over to pop music with "On My Own", "If You Asked Me To", "Stir It Up", and "New Attitude". She has also recorded R&B ballads such as "You Are My Friend", "If Only You Knew", and "Love, Need and Want You".
Due to her musical legacy and influence, she has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Apollo Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters' Hall of Fame. The World Music Awards presented her with the prestigious Legend Award. LaBelle has sold over 50 million records worldwide.

Gladys Knight, known as the 'Empress of Soul', is a recording artist, songwriter and author. A seven-time Grammy Award-winner, she is best known for the hits she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s, for both the Motown and Buddah Records labels, with her group Gladys Knight & the Pips, the most famous incarnation of which also included her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest.

Natalie Cole is a nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and performer. The daughter of Nat King Cole, Cole rose to musical success in the mid-1970s as an R&B artist with the hits "This Will Be", "Inseparable" and "Our Love". Cole reemerged after a period of personal problems with the 1987 album, 'Everlasting', and her cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac". In the 1990s, she re-recorded standards by her father, resulting in her biggest success, 'Unforgettable... with Love', which sold over seven million copies. She has sold over 30 million records worldwide.

The show currently guest stars Vanessa Williams, who was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2002 for her role as The Witch in 'Into The Woods'. Her other Broadway credits include 'The Trip to Bountiful' (2013), 'Sondheim on Sondheim' (2010), and 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' (1994). She has also earned Grammy and Emmy nominations through her music and television careers. She has released 8 studio albums, including 'Silver & Gold', which she showcased at Broadway's Palace Theatre in Dec 2004. She is perhaps best known for her television roles on 'Ugly Betty' and 'Desperate Housewives'.

Vanessa's limited engagement follows Broadway outings by Fantasia, K. D. Lang, and Toni Braxton & Babyface.

The regular cast of After Midnight features Dulé Hill, who will lead the audience through the Harlem Renaissance as 'The Host'; Tony Award-winner Adriane Lenox ('Doubt') reprising her role as the blues singer with a sense of humor; Julius "Iglide" Chisholm from the dance crew RemoteKontrol, reimagining Harlem's popular 1920's "snakehips" dance; hip hop performer Virgil J. Gadson; Tony Award-nominated modern dancer Karine Plantadit ('Come Fly Away'); Michael Jackson's tap coach Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and tap-dancing choreographer Jared Grimes.

The cast also includes a male quartet comprised of Grammy Award-nominee and member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band Everett Bradley, Cedric Neal, T. Oliver Reid and Monroe Kent; a female trio of Broadway vets including Carmen Ruby Floyd, Rosena M. Hill Jackson and Bryonha Marie Parham;and dancers Marija Abney, Phillip Attmore, Christopher Broughton, Taeler Elyse Cyrus, C.K. Edwards, Danielle Herbert, Bahiyah Hibah, David Jennings, Erin Moore, Justin Prescott, Tony Award nominee Desmond Richardson ('Fosse'), Monique Smith and Daniel Watts.

After Midnight, is conceived by Jack Viertel, with direction and choreography by Warren Carlyle and music direction by Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis.

After Midnight celebrates 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 music.

The production features singers, dancers, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center All Stars, under the direction of Wynton Marsalis. The score includes songs by jazz composers of the time, including Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields ("I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "Digga Digga Doo"), a young Harold Arlen ("Stormy Weather," "I've Got the World on a String," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,"), and the legendary Duke Ellington ("Rockin' in Rhythm," "Cotton Club Stomp," "Black and Tan Fantasy," and "Creole Love Call").

The timeless tunes set against a narrative of Langston Hughes poetry will provide a backdrop for an array of performances by 25 vocalists and dancers, including special guest stars.

The creative team will include costumes by Isabel and Ruben Toledo, sets by John Lee Beatty, lighting by Howell Binkley and sound by Peter Hylenski.

Encores! Special event production of the jazz musical 'Cotton Club Parade,' now named After Midnight, played two runs at New York City Center in 2011 and 2012.

After Midnight is produced by Scott Sanders Productions, and Wynton Marsalis, in association with Marks-Moore-Turnbull Group; Stephen and Ruth Hendel; and Tom Kirdahy.

- by Tom Millward

Patti LaBelleGladys KnightNatalie Cole

Originally published on

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