Now it’s true that Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto have won deservedly high praise for their performances in the revival of The Glass Menagerie but the response has been deservedly muted to Mary-Louise Parker’s turn in The Snow Geese. Meanwhile, both critics and audiences have been divided over the work of Daniel Craig and his real-life wife Rachel Weisz in the Mike Nichols-directed revival of Betrayal and towards Jeff Goldblum and Laurie Metcalf in Domesticated off-Broadway at Lincoln Center.
The idea for this collaboration between Marsalis and Sondheim seems to have been to give the Sondheim songbook the kind of jazz props that Nelson Riddle gave the great songwriters of the ‘30s and ‘40s when he produced his songbook series for Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra and Dave Grusin did with the Gershwins in the ‘90s.
That’s OK when Bernadette Peters, looking fabulous in a skin-tight dress at 65, performs her numbers with a sassy verve and wit that transcend genre. But it’s less satisfying when Norm Lewis and Jeremy Jordan go through the usual paces as they perform theirs.
Under the direction of Warren Carlyle, a cast of more than two-dozen hardworking singers and dancers perform a series of numbers composed by the likes of Harold Arlen, Dorothy Fields & Jimmy McHugh, Yip Harburg and primarily Ellington.
After Midnight’s featured performers include Dulé Hill, now best known for his roles on TV shows like “Psych” and “The West Wing” but who got his start as the understudy to Savion Glover in The Tap Dance Kid, and the "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino, who earned her Broadway stripes when she replaced LaChanze in The Color Purple.