Directed by: Roger PeaceAIN'T MISBEHAVIN' - THE FATS WALLER MUSICAL SHOW
Starring Kim Richardson
Also featuring Toya Alexis
With Jonathan Emile, Michael-Lamont Lytle and Aiza Ntibarikure
Conceived by Richard Maltby Jr. & Murray Horwitz
A Segal Centre & Copa de Oro Productions Co-production
4 PERFORMANCES ADDED BY POPULAR DEMAND!
The outrageously comic and musical soul of 1930s Harlem lives on in this rollicking, swinging, finger-snapping revue that is considered one of Broadway’s best.
“This musical re-creation of Fats Waller, the jazz singer and pianist, is a whole cluster of marvels … heart-stopping.” – The New York Times
"Ain't Misbehavin' I'm saving my love for you" - Fats Waller
REVIEWSMontreal Gazette: “From music to dance moves, this one’s a winner”
The Suburban: "A fast-paced, jazzy delight"
Charlebois Post : “Highly entertaining… a joyful feel-good experience”
The Rover: “The cast is fantastic”
The Metropolitain: “Wonderfully entertaining”
The West End Times: “Ain’t Misbehavin’ hits all the right notes”
CurtainsUp.TV: “just the ticket for a great evening out for super entertainment”
The McGill Tribune: “A night of unforgettable music and passion, where the very essence of entertainment is distilled into a highly potent punch.”
The Canadian Jewish News: “Your face will hurt from smiling”
SYNOPSISThe inimitable Thomas “Fats” Waller rose to international fame during the golden age of the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom, when the nightclubs of New York City were filled with stride piano players banging out that jumpin’ new beat, swing. This three-time Tony Award-winning musical evokes the delightful humour and infectious energy of the legendary jazzman and the celebrated songs that defined an era. Sometimes sassy, sometimes sultry, with moments of devastating beauty, Ain’t Misbehavin’ is simply unforgettable.
Thomas “Fats” Waller
AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’, The FATS WALLER Musical Show | Conceived by RICHARD MALTBY JR. and MURRAY HORWITZ – Created and Originally Directed by RICHARD MALT BY JR. – Original Choreography and Musical Staging by ARTHUR FARIA – Musical Adaptations, Orchestrations and Arrangements by LUTHER HENDERSON – Vocal and Musical Concepts by JEFFREY GUTCHEON – Musical Arrangements by JEFFREY GUTCHEON and WILLIAM ELLIOTT. Ain’t Misbehavin’ is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY, 10019, Phone: 212-541-4684, Fax: 212-397-4684, www.MTIShows.com
Photo: 1/ Johnny O'Neil
MONTREAL — You don’t have to know anything about the Harlem Renaissance in order to enjoy the musical revue Ain’t Misbehavin’, which just opened at the Segal Centre. It’s a feel-good show that sets your toes tapping and your hands clapping, performed by five wonderfully talented singers who knock it out of the park.
But the music it contains harks back to a fascinating period in American history (1918 to the mid-1930s) when many artists emerged in Harlem, including poet/playwright Langston Hughes, sculptor Augusta Savage and actor Paul Robeson, as well as singers like Ella Fitzgerald, and jazz musicians like pianist Thomas “Fats” Waller, who was also a composer, singer, organist and all-around entertainer.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ is billed as a Fats Waller musical as it’s based on the music he played and takes its title from one of his most famous songs. But the lyrics to Ain’t Misbehavin’ were written by Harlem poet Andy Razaf, and Harry Brooks shared the composition credit with Waller. Razaf also wrote the lyrics for the other signature Waller tune, Honeysuckle Rose, which was belatedly inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 along with Ain’t Misbehavin’.
When Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby Jr. put together this musical tribute to Harlem Renaissance music in 1978, they had no idea it would become the first revue ever to win the Best Musical Tony Award.
Montreal hasn’t seen a locally produced Ain’t Misbehavin’ since 1986, when a four-singer version ran for a year at Le Stage dinner theatre. This one is staged by the same director, Roger Peace, with far more means at his disposal this time, including a budget for a striking set featuring an arc of giant piano keys over the spaghetti-curtain entrance, a five-musician band led by the versatile Chris Barillaro, who also sits in for Waller at the piano, and five top-notch singers. The result is the best show Peace has ever done.
Within a setting that conjures up images of famed venues like the Savoy Ballroom and the Cotton Club, this team of five including local diva Kim Richardson, Aiza Ntibarikure (recently seen, with Richardson, in Hairspray), rapper Jonathan Emile, Toya Alexis, and Michael-Lamont Lytle, brings the house down, again and again.
Ain’t Misbehavin’s is a company show requiring deft moves and tight teamwork. The music is complicated and the numerous asides planted in the songs as well as between them require superb timing.
On opening the night, the amplification system sounded a bit brassy during the first act, which features classics like Honeysuckle Rose and The Joint is Jumpin’. But the problem was resolved by the second act, which includes serious solo time as well a fast-paced medley.
Emile nearly steals the show with his hilarious take on The Viper’s Drag, about a guy and his dream of a giant reefer. But Richardson quickly reclaims her share with a heart-rending version of Mean to Me, then teams up with Alexis for a naughty, hip-swaying rendition of Find Out What They Like. Lytle, who is also the show’s dance captain, nails the comedic Your Feet’s Too Big. And Ntibarikure slows down her often frenetic pace, delivering Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now, with endearing melancholy.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ is one sweet confection right up there with cherry cheesecake — smooth and delicious. Indulge.