Dancing diva herself, Ms. Brenda Braxton has joined some of the original cast of the Tony Award-winning musical After Midnight on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest and biggest ship.
The premiere cruise line announced in January that they would be bringing the jazz-filled spectacle to their newest ship, the 4,200 passenger Norwegian Escape. Playing weekly in the vessels’ 800-seat Escape Theater, the Broadway experience is just one of many notable features of the ship.
Since Braxton’s Broadway debut, just a year out of high school, the Diva (as I like to call her) has appeared in Dreamgirls, Jelly’s Last Jam, and Cats. She’s become a frequent favorite of the long-running Fosse hit Chicago and in 1995 she earned a Tony Award nomination for her famous portrayal in Smokey Joe’s Cafe. In addition to her work on TV shows “Smash” and “Nurse Jackie,” the Golden Girl also recently launched “ACT 2…Now What?,” a “series of seminars and workshops for women over 50 looking to make the Act 2 of their lives spectacular on their own terms.”
After Midnight opened in the fall of 2013 and despite its short run, was a critical success from the start. Earning seven Tony Award nominations, the City Center transfer welcomed the stunning artistry of musical greats including Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton, Babyface, Vanessa Williams, and Fantasia Barrino.
“Refracted through a contemporary lens, After Midnight celebrates Duke Ellington’s years at the Cotton Club using his original arrangements and performed by a world-class big band of 17 musicians hand-picked by living jazz legend, Wynton Marsalis. The timeless tunes set against a narrative of Langston Hughes poetry provide an authentic backdrop for an array of cutting-edge performances by 25 sensational vocalists and dancers, including special guest stars, whose interpretations shatter everything you think you know about music, nightlife and Broadway.”
Conceived by Producer Jack Viertel, the 90-minute musical will be re-created on board the Escape by its original director/choreographer, Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, and will feature the look and feel of its original design team, including Isabel Toledo’s costumes and John Lee Beatty’s set. The Norwegian Escape will take its maiden voyage on Nov. 9.