Showing posts with label Ain't Misbehavin'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ain't Misbehavin'. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ain't Misbehavin'...DTC Is!

By Guest Blogger, Christine Facciolo
Christine holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music and continues to apply her voice to all genres of music. An arts lover since childhood, she currently works as a freelance writer. 

The joint’s indeed jumpin’ at the Delaware Theatre Company with the raucous and infectiously joyful Ain’t Misbehavin’. This 31-song revue of Fats Waller tunes captures the ebullient spirit of the Harlem Renaissance thanks to the direction of creator Richard Malby Jr. and a five-member cast that truly understands the many moods of the prolific composer, from the irreverent Fat and Greasy to the mournful Black and Blue.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a joyous celebration of Black America’s contribution to our culture. You’ll hear swing, the rhythms of ragtime, the passions of blues, jazz, be-bop, waltz and jitterbug all served up with a dash of double-entendre that hints at the nasty. Y ou’ll see movement from tap to the Charleston and back again, with everything in-between.  And all that accomplished with sass, brass and bountiful belting.

This revue contains the best of Waller’s songbook plus many tunes he performed and turned into hits. The cast — Doug Eskew, Eugene Fleming, Kecia Lewis, Cynthia Thomas and Debra Walton — seem to have as much fun as the audience singing and dancing to the numbers.

The cast coalesces beautifully into an ensemble in selections including The Joint is Jumpin’ and the irresistible title tune.  But everyone gets their turn in the spotlight as well.  Walton brings a lustrous elegance to Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now, while Lewis delivers an emotional and heartfelt Mean to Me. Thomas bring a ladylike come-hither to Squeeze Me, while Fleming slinks and slithers through the (literally) smokin’ The Viper. As for Eskew, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Waller with an outsized persona and vocals to match.  His take on Your Feet’s Too Big is uproarious.

The finale includes a medley of tunes Waller performed, including many he didn’t write. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love and It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie are all recognizable standards nicely sung.  And when the cast unleashes an ebullient reprise of Honeysuckle Rose, it becomes impossible to keep your toes from tapping.

The cast gets support from an ace five-piece jazz band. The conductor and pianist is William Foster McDaniel, whose flying fingers ably accommodate Waller’s stride technique.   The show plays out on Kacie Hultgren’s set, which evokes a cabaret/nightclub of yesteryear but does not crowd out Waller’s music.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is Broadway’s first jukebox musical, making it one of 13 musicals that had a profound impact on the art form, according to a recent article in Playbill magazine. This production closes DTC’s 35th season as it commemorates the musical’s 35th anniversary.

This is an amazingly fun, toe-tapping experience. Fats Waller’s music deserves to be performed by talented and respectful performers. This cast will entertain you far beyond your expectations — Don’t miss this production!