‘After Midnight’ Rides Tony Momentum with Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole

Broadway musical “After Midnight,” fresh off the publicity boost of its seven Tony nominations, aims to turn even more theatergoers’ heads with a trio of well-known music names lined up for guest-starring stints: Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole.

The musical, a tribute to Duke Ellington’s years at the Cotton Club, has been structured to allow a roster of guest stars to rotate in and out of the show, mixing the model of an ongoing Broadway offering with that of a limited-run concert engagement. The show bowed in the fall with Fantasia Barrino in the guest spot, and has followed with guest stints from performers including k.d. lang, Toni Braxton and Babyface Edmonds.

The tuner scored some of the season’s best reviews when it opened in the fall, but box office has been middling at best. The production stands to gain some box office steam thanks to its recent Tony hype, and that momentum could get a further boost from its upcoming trio of well-known guest stars.

The trio of performers will play separate engagements during the summer months, when tourism traffic helps keep Broadway box office high.

LaBelle steps into “After Midnight” June 10-29, while Knight rotates in July 8-Aug. 3 and Cole appears in the production Aug. 5-31.

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