COMPOSER: Fats Waller
LYRICIST: Fats Waller
BOOK: Richard Maltby Jr and Murray Horwitz
DIRECTOR: Richard Maltby Jr
CHOREOGRAPHER: Arthur Faria
PRINCIPLE CAST: Nell Carter (Nell),Andre DeShields (Andre), Ken Page (Ken)
OPENING DATE: May 09, 1978
CLOSING DATE: Feb 21, 1982
SYNOPSIS: Using the pre-existing music of 1930s jazz pianist Fats Waller, Ain’t Misbehavin uses three women and two men to sing Waller’s songs in a plotless revue celebrating his music.
Richard Dueñez Morrison’s highlights the significance Ain’t Misbehavin’ had as a highly regarded, character-driven Broadway revue. Though a comparatively simple lineup of Fats Waller songs without book, elaborate set, sizable ensemble, or major stars, the show brought the world of the Harlem Renaissance to life in a way that was both novel and accessible for largely white audiences. Director-lyricist Richard Maltby Jr., and writer Murray Horwitz abandoned the idea of crafting a conventional, dialogue-driven telling of Waller’s life in favor of a more nuanced evening which showcased the diverse talents of the five Black performers in the cast, including future stars Nell Carter and Andre DeShields. Maltby carefully guided the transition of the show from its intimate premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club’s off-Broadway venue to the larger Longacre Theatre, ensuring the intimacy at the heart of the piece translated to a Broadway stage. When the revue won the 1978 Tony Award for Best Musical, new avenues were opened for Broadway revues as well as Black representation on the Broadway stage.
Richard Dueñez Morrison – Richard Dueñez Morrison is a music director and voice teacher in San Diego, California. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Stage Management from Webster University and a master’s degree in Musical Theater from San Diego State University. His favorite musicals include Sweeney Todd, Nine, Andrew Lippa’s A Little Princess, The Will Rogers Follies, and Caroline, or Change. Eternal thanks to husband Kurt, parents Renee and Dennis, piano teacher Dorothy Winnard, and theatrical mentors Neil Rothschild, Debbie Luce, Mary Elledge, and Ole Kittleson.
Ain’t Misbehavin, Original Broadway Cast Recording. RCA (1978)
Ain’t Misbehavin, starring Nell Carter and Andre DeShields, directed by Don Mischer. NBC Television (1982)
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