*Longtime recording collaborators Toni Braxton and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds have signed up as special guest artists for a two-week stint in After Midnight, the upcoming Broadway musical tribute to Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club.
Conceived by Jack Viertel, with direction and choreography by Warren Carlyle and musical direction by Wynton Marsalis, After Midnight is a salute to Duke Ellington’s Jazz Age reign at the celebrated Harlem nightspot, set against a narrative backdrop of Langston Hughes poetry.
As previously reported, the show starts previews Oct. 18 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, with official opening set for Nov. 13.
Reprising the Cotton Club tradition of guest headliners, After Midnight will feature Fantasia through its opening months. Next up will be k.d. lang, making her Broadway debut Feb. 11 through March 9. Braxton and Edmonds are scheduled to follow, performing March 18-30. Additional guest performers are expected to be announced.
Dule Hill appears as the emcee of the show, which features a big band of 17 musicians backing 25 vocalists and dancers. Other castmembers include Tony winner Adriane Lenox (Doubt), Julius “iGlide” Chisolm from dance crew RemoteKontrol, hip-hop artist Virgil J. Gadson and tap-dance specialist Jared Grimes.
Braxton and Edmonds’ duets album, Love, Marriage & Divorce, will be released Dec. 3 on Motown Records, with the first single, “Hurt You,” already charting. Winners of a combined 16 Grammy Awards, they first collaborated on Braxton’s 1992 debut, “Give U My Heart.”
Braxton previously appeared on Broadway in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Aida, while Edmonds will be making his Broadway debut.