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Ain't Misbehavin', Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
WCP Ain't Misbehavin' - judith-franklin,-jay-copeland,-paris-bennett,-will-stone,-miya-bass_by-ron-heerkens-jr.jpg
Phenomenal! Ain't Misbehavin' at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut celebrates the music and genius of an American icon, Thomas "Fats" Waller. A sumptuous art deco set, gorgeous costumes, and a talented cast with amazing voices complement the music that has become part of the American songbook and jazz standards. Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz, and directed and choreographed by Jeffrey L. Page, the cast features Miya Bass, Paris Bennett, Jay Copeland, Judith Franklin, and Will Stone. The music and dance numbers will have your feet tapping and your fingers snapping and is a "must-see" for quality entertainment. Ain't Misbehavin' at the Westport Country Playhouse runs until April 29, 2023. Bravo!

 

Westport Country Playhouse - Ain't Misbehavin' - Judith Franklin, Jay Copeland, Paris Bennett, Will Stone, Miya Bass - photo by Ron Heerkens Jr.
Judith Frankiln, Jay Copeland, Paris Bennett,
Will Stone, Miya Bass
Ain't Misbehavin'

Celebrating its 93rd season of bringing exceptional theatre to Connecticut, the Westport Country Playhouse opened their 2023 season with the musical Ain't Misbehavin' which first ran on Broadway in 1978. Since then, it has won many awards including Drama Desk awards, Theatre World Awards, and Tony awards, as well as earning many award nominations. 

Westport Country Playhouse - Ain't Misbehavin' - Jay Copeland, Will Stone - photo by Ron Heerkens Jr.
Jay Copeland, Will Stone
Ain't Misbehavin'

We attended opening night at the Westport Country Playhouse on Saturday, April 15, 2023, and we were enchanted with the well-attended performance. Making for an extra memorable evening of theatre, special guests at the performance included the musical's conceiver Richard Maltby, Jr. and André De Shields, who was in the original 1978 Broadway cast. 

Westport Country Playhouse - Ain't Misbehavin' - Judith Franklin, Paris Bennett, Miya Bass - photo by Ron Heerkens Jr.
Judith Franklin, Paris Bennett, Miya Bass
Ain't Misbehavin'

As longtime jazz and the music fans of Thomas "Fats" Waller (May 21, 1904 - December 15, 1943), we were delighted to experience Ain't Misbehavin', which is a celebration of his music. Beginning with the title song, Ain't Misbehavin', which was first recorded in 1929 when Fats was just 24 years old, the musical has one hit song after another, which deftly tell the tale of the era. 

Westport Country Playhouse - Ain't Misbehavin' - Jay Copeland, Miya Bass, Judith Franklin, Paris Bennett, Will Stone, Miya Bass - photo by Ron Heerkens Jr.
Jay Copeland, Miya Bass, Judith Franklin,
Paris Bennett, Will Stone
Ain't Misbehavin'

Born in New York City, Fats Waller was a composer, pianist, and entertainer who is credited with the Harlem stride style. His musical genius and innovations had a profound influence on jazz piano that continues today. He was a prolific composer writing such memorable songs as T'aint Nobody's Biz-ness if I Do, Honeysuckle Rose, Handful of Keys, That Ain't Right, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, and many more before he died of pneumonia on a cross-country trip on his way to a performance at the age of 39 years. 

Westport Country Playhouse - Ain't Misbehavin' - Paris Bennett, Judith Franklin, Miya Bass, Jay Copeland, Will Stone, Miya Bass - photo by Ron Heerkens Jr.
Paris Bennett, Judith Franklin, Miya Bass,
Jay Copeland, Will Stone
Ain't Misbehavin'

From its spectacular art deco set design with the band prominently featured on stage, to the stunning costumes, Ain't Misbehavin' starts to weave its magic before the exceptionally talented cast even begins to sing, but when they do, they fully do justice to the music of Fats Waller. The two-act musical is so jam packed with exceptional songs and dance numbers that by intermission a pause is needed for both the actors and the audience to catch their breath. 

Westport Country Playhouse - Ain't Misbehavin' - Miya Bass, Judith Franklin, Will Stone, Jay Copeland, Paris Bennett - photo by Ron Heerkens Jr.
Miya Bass, Judity Franklin, Will Stone,
Jay Copeland, Paris Bennett
Ain't Misbehavin'

Other great songs in Ain't Misbehavin' include Ladies Who Sing with the Band, When the Nylons Bloom Again, Cash for Your Trash, The Joint is Jumpin', Find Out What They Like, and I Can't Give You Anything but Love, and so many more. The performance of Ain't Misbehavin' ended with a thunderous standing ovation, once again confirming the musical genius and legacy of Fats Waller, which continues to attract and inspire audiences. Bravo! 

Until next time, keep enjoying and supporting the arts! 

Note: Ain't Misbehavin' is a co-production with Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, Massachusetts + Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York. 

The musical has a run-time of 2 hours including a 15-minute intermission and is recommended for audiences 12 years and older. 

Watch the Official Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0DyGs3cqU0

Ain't Misbehavin' Cast
 

Miya Bass
 
Paris Bennett
 
Jay Copeland
 
Judith Franklin
 
Will Stone
 

Ain't Misbehavin' Creative Team
 

Thomas "Fats" Waller
Music
Richard Maltby, Jr.
Conceiver, Creator, Original Director
Murray Horwitz
Conceiver
Jeffrey L. Page
Director, Choreographer
Raul Abrego
Scenic Design
Philip Rosenberg
Lighting Design
Oana Botez
Costume Design
Leon Rothenbeg
Sound Designer
Terrence "Terry Bogart" Walker
Music Director
Fritzlyn Hector
Associate Director/Choreographer
Sean Sanford
Props Supervisor
Alexis Nalbadian
Production Stage Manager
Tré Wheeler
Assistant Stage Manager
Natalie Hoefling
Production Assistant
Deah Love Harriott
Vocal Arranger
Jeff Bolding
Music Contractor
Sam Biondolillo
Assistant Lighting Designer
Paul Vaillancourt
Lighting Programmer
Tara Rubin Casting
Casting
Rebecca Weiss
Casting
Mark Lamos
Artistic Director
Gretchen Wright
Interim Managing Director

Ain't Misbehavin' Musicians
 

Donovan Austin
Trombone
Terry Bogart
Piano/Music Director
Jason Clotter
Bass
Bernell Jones II
Reed 2 Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Kevin Oliver
Reed 1 Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Ryan Sands
Drums
John Williams II
Trumpet

Note: Ain't Misbehavin' is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com 

Westport Country Playhouse 2023 Performance Schedule

 

Ain't Misbehavin'
April 11-29, 2023
Bad Accent
April 24, 2023
Mic in Hand: Ari Axelrod
May 15, 2023
The Pout Pot Fish
May 21, 2023
The Magic School Bus
June 4, 2023
Patti Lupone
June 15, 2023
Dial M For Murder
July 11-29, 2023
School Girls: Or, The African Mean Girls Play
October 24-November 11, 2023

About the Westport Country Playhouse 

"Founded in 1931, the mission of Westport Country Playhouse is to enrich, enlighten, and engage the community through the power of professionally produced theater of the highest caliber and the welcoming experience of the Playhouse campus. The not-for-profit Playhouse provides this experience in multiple ways by offering live theater experiences of the highest quality, under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos; educational and community engagement events to further explore the work on stage; the New Works Initiative, a program dedicated to the discovery, development, and production of new live theatrical works; special performances and programs for students and teachers with extensive curriculum support material; Script in Hand play readings to deepen relationships with audiences and artists; the renowned Woodward Internship Program during the summer months for aspiring theater professionals; Family Festivities presentations to delight young and old alike and to promote reading through live theater; and the beautiful and historic Playhouse campus open for enjoyment and community events year-round."  

"The mission of Westport Country Playhouse is to enrich, enlighten, and engage the community through the power of professionally produced theater worth talking about and the welcoming experience of the Playhouse campus. The not-for-profit Playhouse provides this experience in multiple ways by offering live theater experiences of the highest quality, under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos; educational and community engagement events to further explore the work on stage; the New Works Initiative, a program dedicated to the discovery, development, and production of new live theatrical works; special performances and programs for students and teachers with extensive curriculum support material; Script in Hand play readings to deepen relationships with audiences and artists; the renowned Woodward Internship Program during the summer months for aspiring theater professionals; Family Festivities presentations to delight young and old alike and to promote reading through live theater; youth performance training through Broadway Method Academy, Westport Country Playhouse's resident conservatory program; and the beautiful and historic Playhouse campus open for enjoyment and community events year-round." 

The Westport Country Playhouse, named as "Theatre Company of the Year" in December 2013 by The Wall Street Journal, opened on June 29, 1931, in a transformed 1835 cow barn, which has, and continues to attract, a "who's who" of prominent actors. 

Looking at the framed posters of the past shows that line the lobby walls is like entering an encyclopedia of the arts. A few of the renowned actors who have appeared on the stage there include Ethyl Barrymore, Dorothy and Lillian Gish, Tallulah Bankhead, Gloria Swanson, Don Ameche, Hume Cronin and Jessica Tandy, Jane Fonda, Danny Aiello, Blythe Danner, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Dreyfus, Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Lynn Redgrave, Gene Wilder, and Westport residents Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. 

Ain't Misbehavin' Performance Schedule: Tuesday at 7:00 pm, Wednesday at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm, Thursday at 7:00 pm, Friday at 8:00 pm, Saturday at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 3:00 pm. 

For additional information or to purchase tickets, please call the Box Office at +1-203-227-4177, email them at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit the website at www.WestportPlayhouse.org. 

Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT, USA 

Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, Connecticut 06880
United States
Box Office: +1-203-227-4177
Toll-Free: 1-888-927-7529
Website: www.WestportPlayhouse.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WestportCountryPlayhouse
Instagram: www.instagram.com/wcplayhouse
Twitter: @wcplayhouse 

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