Fantasia Barrino is back on Broadway and earning stellar reviews for her role in the recently debuted production "After Midnight."
In two recent reviews, the "Side Effects of You" singer was recognized for not only pulling off the 1920s and 1930s style look, but vocal performances of at least four solo songs (see clips below).
"Of her four solo spots Ms. Barrino shines brightest performing the standard “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,” her tangy voice embracing the Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh classic with obvious affection. She’s also delightful when flirting with a quartet of catcalling guys in the lesser-known “Zaz Zuh Zaz” (by Cab Calloway and Harry White), creditably playing a vampy chanteuse with a naughty smile," the New York Times reported Monday. "(Her mouth seems to hold twice as many teeth as everybody else’s.) Although I admired Ms. Barrino’s heartfelt performance in “The Color Purple,” I was surprised at how smoothly and intuitively she slid into the vocal persona of a jazz singer."
As previously reported, "After Midnight" celebrates the glamour and exuberance of Harlem’s Golden Age.
"Experience the intoxicating sounds of Harlem’s most legendary nightclub, performed by the unparalleled Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars, an orchestra of 17 world-class musicians hand-picked by 9-time Grammy Award winner Wynton Marsalis," reports Broadway. "The timeless songs of Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, Cab Calloway and their contemporaries are as explosively entertaining as ever in this evening of high-adrenaline song and dance numbers, woven together by the prose of Langston Hughes."
Following opening night, Sunday, Fantasia also earned praise from The Hollywood Reporter.
"Her performance here plunges into the jazz-blues vocal styles of another era, evoking everyone from Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday to Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald on such standards as “Stormy Weather,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” She even gives a rousing nod to Cab Calloway on “Zaz Zuh Zaz,” with Bradley and the guys answering her scat call-and-response from the box seats," reports THR. "Fantasia’s vocal skills are no secret, but she also nails the period moves and attitudes with supreme finesse, playing the baby doll in one breath and the torchy siren in the next. And she looks gorgeous in Toledo’s knockout gowns."
Watch a teaser clip for "After Midnight" in video below: