Tuesday, November 28, 2006

'Ain't Misbehavin'' Comes to Charlottesville

This news release from Live Arts crossed my desk yesterday. I'll be going to see the show on Friday.

LIVE ARTS PRESENTS: Ain’t Misbehavin’ The joint will be jumpin’!

Charlottesville, VA - Live Arts proudly presents Ain’t Misbehavin’, a Fats Waller musical show. Directed by John Owen, Ain’t Misbehavin’ runs in the DownStage theater December 1 -23, 3006. Show sponsors are R.E. Lee & Son, Inc., Elizabeth and Joe LeVaca and Nelson Byrd Woltz. Show community partner is Charlottesville Chapter of the LINKS, Inc. Season media sponsor is C-VILLE Weekly.

Join us in our DownStage as it will also resonate with the radiant and joyful energy of Thomas “Fats” Waller in Ain’t Misbehavin’. Featuring an 11-person ensemble of music and choreographed dance, this cabaret-style performance of 25 songs will showcase everything from “Honeysuckle Rose” to “I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.” The walls will be thumping with the rhythmic notes of Fats’ memorable jive!

When asked about Ain’t Misbehavin’, director John Owen responded, “The work of Fats Waller is in all of our minds because his work lives at the very foundation of jazz. It is a tribute to an artist who brought us music that has been and will be re-interpreted forever. If someone says ‘I’ve never heard of Fats Waller,’ you can bet that if you hum a few bars they'll smile and say, ‘Oh sure, I KNOW THAT ONE!"

Born in 1904 in New York City to a Baptist minister father, Fats Wallers’ budding career began as a child under the instruction of the musical director at his Baptist church who taught him the classical organ compositions of J.S. Bach. During his 20s, he was then introduced to the stride style of piano by legendary Harlem pianist James P. Johnson, sparking his mastery of this musical form characterized by improvisation and swing rhythms. Early success in his five- or six-piece combo group “Fats Waller and his Rhythm” later developed into a burgeoning solo pianist career, composing more than 450 pieces, among which is the hit “Ain’t Misbehavin’!” Known for his larger than life exuberance and roguish stage presence, all 285 pounds of Fats maintained a ravenous appetite for life in every sense of the word. More than 60 years after his death, we pay homage to this American icon of jazz music.

Making its Broadway debut at the Longacre Theatre on May 9, 1978, Ain’t Misbehavin’ ran for a total of 1604 performances. It reaped critical acclaim by being nominated for five Tony Awards and winning three in its opening year including Best Director, Best Featured Actress and Best Musical. Ever since, Ain’t Misbehavin’ has been seen on stages across the world and it is with great pride that Live Arts brings this musical performance to our DownStage theater.

Tickets for Ain’t Misbehavin’ go on sale to the public Monday, November 13 and may be purchased in one of three ways. Tickets are sold via phone at the Live Arts Box Office, in person Monday through Friday from 10a.m. to 6p.m., or one hour before the performance. The preview performance of Ain’t Misbehavin’ is November 30 at 8 p.m. Free tickets to this Thursday preview are available in person at C-VILLE Weekly starting Wednesday November 22. This ticket giveaway will be available on a first come, first served basis, and will continue until gone. Limit is two tickets per person, and free admission is only via these tickets.
The photo at upper right shows the Charlottesville cast of Ain't Misbehavin' and is courtesy of Live Arts. The poster on the left from the national touring company of Ain't Misbehavin' has been hanging on my kitchen wall for more years than I care to remember.

1 comment:

Sean Tubbs said...

I'll have an audio preview of Ain't Misbehavin' on the Charlottesville Podcasting Network on Thursday.