Legendary R&B star Babyface signed up to make his Broadway debut in hit musical After Midnight to honour his late mother.

The singer, real name Kenneth Edmonds, has joined forces with longtime pal and collaborator Toni Braxton to appear in the New York stage production, which celebrates jazz icon Duke Ellington's years at Harlem's famous Cotton Club, and Babyface admits he wanted to make his mum, Barbara Edmonds, proud by taking on the new challenge.

He tells Essence.com, "My mum passed away about a year and a half ago and I really wanted to do this for her 'cause I knew that she would be tickled pink that I would be on Broadway. I feel like she's going to be watching this."

Babyface and Braxton kicked off their two-week stint as guest performers in After Midnight on Tuesday (18Mar14), taking over from singer k.d. lang.