Tuesday, February 4, 2014

theatre review AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' January 24, Phoenix Theatre

Brittney Mack, Andre Jordan, Katherine Todd
 and Fredena J. Williams
Click here to read my complete review at Talkin' Broadway of the musical revue Ain't Misbehavin' now playing at Phoenix Theatre through February 16th.

"The name of 1920s jazz pianist and composer Fats Waller may not be that well known today but I believe that if it wasn't for the 1978 Broadway revue of his work Ain't Misbehavin', which has had an impressive life in regional theatres beyond its initial Broadway run, he might actually be almost forgotten. That's unfortunate, as Weller was a keen musician and expert showman whose songs are just as fresh and memorable today as they were when he first performed them. Ain't Misbehavin', the first musical revue to ever win the Tony Award for Best Musical and billed as "the Fats Waller Musical," features many songs written by Waller or performed by him, including his four biggest hits: "Honeysuckle Rose," "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" and "'Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do." The revue touches upon the joy of life, and is ultimately a tribute to Waller and all of the black musicians and singers who rose to fame in 1920s Harlem. The Phoenix Theatre production, which runs through February 16th, is one of the best directed productions of the show I've seen, with a talented cast, high caliber design elements and led by a smoking hot band.

Essentially a celebration of the music of the period and a touching tribute to Fats Waller and the Black singers and musicians of 1930s Harlem, Ain't Misbehavin' is a smooth, sweet and sassy affair that also touches upon some very serious moments, including that excellent version of "Black and Blue." The Phoenix Theatre production is exceptionally well directed, with a very good cast and superb creative designs, and led by a smoking band that all culminate in a show that sizzles."
Ain't Misbehavin' runs through February 16th at the Phoenix Theatre at 100 E. McDowell Road in Phoenix. Tickets can be purchased at phoenixtheatre.com/ or by calling (602) 254-2151


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