I went to the Broadway musical “After Midnight” last night and was it good! Music of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, the ’20s – ’30s era of great music at The Cotton Club in Harlem. The play opened with a guy stepping on to the stage and talking…and it struck me that this was so REAL…no special effects, nothing digital, just real human beings. Not a YouTube video. Rare in this electronic age.
It’s just a spectacular show, old school all the way. If you could time-transport it to the ’30s, the audience of those times would love it. Wonderful singing and dancing, non-stop, it’s hard to believe the collection of talent here, the great songs. “Stormy Weather,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing, “Come Fly Away.” There were times during the dance numbers when the collective audience would gasp.
Here are a few snippets from a NYTimes review:
“…it’s the authority of the musicians, handpicked by the Jazz at Lincoln Center artistic director Wynton Marsalis, that makes ‘After Midnight’ a memorable night at the theater. Ellington was famed for his innovations in orchestrating and arranging music (his own and others), creating a distinctive sound that brought to jazz a symphonic richness while maintaining an improvisatory quality that allowed each musician to contribute to the whole.…You know you are in the presence of musicians of a supremely high caliber, but the virtuosity never feels prepackaged or mechanical. There’s too much joy in the playing, and that’s the feeling audiences will be floating out of the theater on when the last note has died out.…”