Ain't Misbehavin'
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Ain't Misbehavin'

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Jazz Broadway

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


On stage, twin café tables with wine bottles and sparkling glasses were bathed in limpid blue light. … The music began and suddenly the audience was transformed into cats at a jazz joint at the height of the Harlem Renaissance.
And last Sunday’s performance of “Ain’t Misbehavin,’” directed by A. Curtis Farrow, kept the joint jumpin’ … The show, whose top-notch, five-person cast was led by Vivian Jett of the original Broadway show, literally reached out and grabbed the audience and didn’t let go until the last notes of the finale faded away.
“What are you going to do to me?” exclaimed one audience member as he was whisked on stage during the second act.
“Ain’t Misbehavin” – despite winning every Tony Award, including Best Musical – is not a musical. Conceived and originally directed by Richard Maltby, Jr., the show has no script and relies on the dynamic energy and ingenuity of its cast members. The informal spontaneity that results It fosters a feeling that no one knows what is going to happen next.
The destruction of the legendary fourth wall brought the audience into direct relationship with the performers. Cast members became kin to the audience, allowing everyone under the roof to regale in the lyrics of Fats Waller’s music. …
Farrow will be bringing “Ain’t Misbehavin’” back to the area. … do not miss the next performance.
Barb Kyllingstad, Tacoma City Paper

- Barb Kyllingstad, Tacoma City Paper


If the forest rocked and the ocean rolled in spectacular frenzy that night, it was neither and earthquake nor a tsunami. It was a Broadway show exploding with music and laughter, high voltage electricity, and dazzling showmanship the like of which this sleepy coastal town has not seen before.
Six extraordinary gifted performers captured the hearts of not one but two nearly full houses almost back to back. Because of the demand for tickets, the Events Center, with the gracious acquiescence of the cast, offered two shows, one at 5 pm and one at 7:30 pm. The theater was truly like Broadway and 42nd Street, with crowds coming and going, people exchanging thrilling comments about what they’d seen and were expecting to see. It was social event, not unlike that portrayed on stage.
From the opening title song to the grand finale, ending with a reprise of that perennial favorite, “Honeysuckle Rose,” the two hours flew with music and bawdy laughter.
Centerstage, Florence, Oregon.
- Florence Oregon, Centerstage


You may never find a production as participatory, as broad and bawdy, as energetically in your face, as (this) one.
Jett and her cohorts attack this material with both barrels blazing. On the narrow Jazz Alley stage, with one (erratic) spotlight, and a single piano for back-up, (well played by Dehner Franks), they sing, they stomp, they shout, sweat, shimmy, mug and bump-and-grind. And as if that weren’t sufficient, they occasionally pull unsuspecting patrons into the act. (If chosen, be prepared for some lusty antics.)
This hard-working troupe … seem(s) willing to do just about anything to keep the joint jumping.
- Misha Berson, Seattle Times


This gem of a show is such a treat, it's hard to know where to begin. It's not just the music, or the vocals. It's the spirit and the embodiment of the soul of Harlem jazz. No one can resist it. It was interesting to witness the transition of the somewhat sparse opening night audience last night--a cold, snowy Tuesday in January. At first they seemed merely appreciative, not overly enthusiastic. But soon they succumbed to the sweet charm and rich voices of A. Curtis Farrow and cast and were on their feet clapping and singing along, and ending the show with a rousing standing ovation.

First performed on Broadway in 1978, this tribute to the music of Thomas "Fats" Waller and the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and '30s, has won every Tony Award including Best Musical. This production is one stop of a national tour and features a talented cast with a long, distinguished history. Farrow is an award-winning producer and director, and has been producing Ain't Misbehavin' for 14 years. The other vocalists (Vivian Jett, Ron Lucas, Dawn Driver, and Famecia Ward) boast resumes that include appearances on Broadway, and involvement in musical productions regionally, nationally and abroad.

This production is well-suited for the intimate atmosphere of Jazz Alley, allowing maximum interaction between cast and audience. Cast members walk through the tables to reach the stage, and there are plenty of opportunities for audience participation.

The performers are simply incredible. The vocalists each have their own unique styles, and each is captivating. Whether it's Driver's delivery of a soulful ballad, Lucas' mischievous performance of "The Viper's Drag," or the quintet's soul-stirring rendition of "Black and Blue," the songs showcase the performers' talents to the max. Band members are Seattle's own Milo Peterson on drums and Larry Holloway on bass, with Darius Frowner visiting from Las Vegas to work his keyboard magic on the piano. Songs include such favorites as the title tune, Honeysuckle Rose, The Joint is Jumping, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, and I Can't Give You Anything But Love, to name a few.

If you're looking for something to do this week and you need a cure for the post-holiday doldrums, this show is IT. Go prepared to shed your inhibitions and your worries, to relax and have a good time stomping your feet, clapping your hands, shouting "yeah" and "amen" or whatever else comes to mind. No matter how you feel when you arrive you'll feel fantastic when you leave!

Ain't Misbehavin' plays nightly at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley at 7:30 PM through this Sunday, January 16. Don't miss it. For tickets go to www.jazzalley.com

- Audrey Gervasi


Last night at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, TONY Award-winning musical "Ain't Misbehavin'" made its weeklong debut to the delight of what turned into a hootin' and hollerin' audience. The musical takes its name from a song of the same title written by Thomas "Fats" Waller, and is a tribute to black musicians of the Harlem Renaissance. The lively cast of five bring this delightful musical to Seattle from New York, and they had the snazzy on-stage costumes and personalities to match. Backed by a three-piece band (piano, drums, bass), the show takes its audience through thirty musical numbers that encapsulate the various moods of the Harlem era.

Some songs are lively foot-stompers that at times are downright silly, while others are more dreamy and whimsical. A few numbers are also suggestive and raunchy, although the show maintains that it is family-appropriate. Audience participation, or call and response, is highly encouraged, if not made entirely mandatory; expect a few people will be brought up to the stage. While the audience for last night's show may have started out quiet and reserved, the cast made the atmosphere so open and lively that people in the back could hardly contain their enthusiasm.

As a whole, the show is a fun audio and visual experience, complete with strong vocals, lively dancing, and laughs all around. The current cast includes the host with a contagious grin, A. Curtis Farrow, and other Broadway performers including Vivian Jett, Ron Lucas, Dawn Driver, and Famecia Ward. Backing band members are Darius Frowner on the piano, Milo Petersen on drums, and Larry Holloway on bass.
- Jazz Alley


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

The show is performed with a hot 5 piece band featuring Pianist and Musical Director Darius Frowner. Darius Frowner is a musical director and pianist from New York City. He is an award winning cabaret performer and plays regularly at the Duplex in Greenwich Village. Darius frequently collaborates with Broadway performers from shows such as Rent, The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera. Often donating his talent for worthy causes, he has recently performed at The United Nations, and appears with Joan Rivers at benefit engagements. He has taught children at a performing arts school and works regularly at NYU. Also many audiences in the United States and Europe have seen his work on Broadway tours of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and in various projects with Irving Street Rep. Other shows include A Chorus Line, Chicago, Fame and Jelly’s Last Jam, which will be filmed for HBO. Darius enjoys performing as well as the whole process involved in creatively entertaining the audience.

Cast
M. MARTINE ALLARD
appeared on Broadway for the first time at age 13 playing Emma in "The Tap Dance Kid." She received a 1984 Theater World Award and 1984 Tony Award nomination. In 1986, Martine was nominated for best supporting actress in a musical by both the Helen Hayes Foundation and the NAACP, for the same role. Since then, Martine has appeared in the 1984 TV sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" and sang the theme song for UPN's TV sitcom "Malcolm & Eddie" with Vesta Williams. A versatile performer, she has done such operas as: Mikado, Barber of Seville, Marriage of Figaro and Cinderella.
Majoring in Opera Theatre and Jazz, Martine studied at the Boston Conservatory and University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is an accredited vocal instructor and a proud member of Sigma Alpha Iota Women's Fraternity. Martine dedicates each performance to her family and friends for their love and support and accredits her existence to the Light and Sound of God.

VIVIAN JETT
Vivian made her splash debut onto the Broadway stage in 1980 when she replaced Armelia Mc Queen in AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'. It was the thrill of a lifetime for the young diva and she learned from the likes of Nell Carter and Debbie Allen what Broadway was all about. She went on to star in many regional productions of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' as well as MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM, SING MAHALIA SING and THE HATTIE MC DANIEL STORY in which she starred. When not performing, Vivian gives back to her native Brooklyn by teaching theater to underprivileged children.

RON LUCAS
Has just returned from Stuttgart, Germany where he performed the role of John in MISS SAIGON. Previously, Ron starred in the world premiere production of BINGO LONG a musical version of the movie about the Negro baseball leagues. Ron has been seen in films, videos and soap operas. His other credits include regional productions of AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’, FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE, THE ELEGANCE OF ELLINGTON, HAIR, GODSPELL in several productions of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR in which he starred as Judas, and as Billy Eckstein in MR. B. CHANGED THE KEY. Ron also sings with the vocal quartet ALL FOUR FUN. When not touring he writes songs and jingles for the Dupont corporation and narrates and sings educational tapes for school children

DERRICK L. BAKER
A native of Rahway, New Jersey, and a graduate of Westminster Choir College, Derrick most recently appeared in the national tour of FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE as No Moe. He has also been seen across the country in productions of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN', THE COTTON CLUB as Bill Bojangles Robinson, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, AIN'T MISBEHAVIN', A CHORUS LINE as Richie and THE WIZ as the Scarecrow. His talents have taken him all over Europe touring in A MUSICAL REVUE. A gifted dancer, Derrick is also co-founder of New Jersey's Mystic Vision Players which brings dance to local schools.