By MARK KENNEDY
NEW YORK - Dule Hill will be tapping into his dancing roots when he joins Broadway's "After Midnight," a musical celebrating Duke Ellington's years at the famous Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem.
Producers said Wednesday the actor and trained tap dancer best known for starring in USA's hit detective series "Psych," will play the host of the show, presenting the sound and glamor of the Harlem Renaissance.
Performances start Oct. 18 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, with an official opening night set for Nov. 3.
Hill was last on Broadway as Spoon, a lawyer-turned-budding novelist, in Lydia R. Diamond's thoughtful family drama "Stick Fly" in 2011. Hill joins the already announced Grammy Award- and "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino in the lively show that will feature 17 musicians and 25 vocalists and dancers.
Emmy Award-nominated for his work as Charlie Young on "The West Wing," Hill first came to prominence as The Kid opposite Savion Glover and Jeffrey Wright in "Bring in `Da Noise, Bring in `Da Funk." Born and raised in New Jersey, Hill began attending dance school when he was 3 and received his first break years later as the understudy to Glover in "The Tap Dance Kid" on Broadway.
Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle with musical direction by Wynton Marsalis, the show appeared off-Broadway last year at New York City Center under the name "Cotton Club Parade." Songs include "Stormy Weather," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "I've Got the World on a String."
Hill may get a work-out in the show, which off-Broadway had no fewer than 24 numbers with dancing that included the Savoy swing and the Charleston. Veteran singer and dancer Brandon Victor Dixon played the role at New York City Center.
Legendary performers such as the Nicholas Brothers, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters and a teenage Lena Horne all performed at the Cotton Club in the 1920s. The music and dancing will be augmented by Langston Hughes poetry.
Mark Kennedy can be reached at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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