Scott Sanders and Adriane Lenox Chat About Bringing "One Hot Night" to Broadway in After Midnight

By Karu F. Daniels
05 Oct 2013

Scott Sanders

"It feels great, especially in a show that's so fantastic," she attested. Lenox was on the ground floor of Cotton Club Parade after she and Carlyle bonded during Randy Newman's Harps & Angels at the Mark Taper Forum. "Warren couldn't be nicer. He's very respectful and creative and willing to say, 'Let's work and let's do what's best for not only the show, but what's going to make you look good too.'"

Lenox plays a gutsy, loose-lipped, loud-mouthed broad known as Blues Woman, and she looked to a late blues and entertainment legend for inspiration. "I wasn't all that familiar with Ethel Waters, but the song 'Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night' really gave me the opportunity to do some further research on her and she had such an impressive career. She was absolutely fabulous."

Trusting Lenox's instincts and nuances, the creative team allowed her to choose another tune for her role. Why not? After all, she was in another musical revue; the legendary Ain't Misbehavin. "I found 'Women Be Wise' … They had originally approached me with 'Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night,' and then they said, 'Let's find at least one other song, Adriane.' So I just went online looking for songs from that time period and I ran across Sippie Wallace's 'Women Be Wise.' I said, 'Now, this is the song. It's funny and it's good.' So that's how it got in the show."

A sample of the show's other music from the era includes Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields ("I Can't Give You Anything But Love"), Harold Arlen ("Stormy Weather") and Ellington ("Cotton Club Stomp").

Sanders, who seems to have a penchant for producing epic musicals from days of yore (Evita, The Color Purple) is staunch in declaring the relevancy of After Midnight among today's theatregoers. "Obviously we do not want to and never did want to say that we're taking audiences back to the 1930s or taking them back to some museum piece of The Cotton Club … this is one hot night on Broadway experience that we want audiences to have."