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Review: Syracuse Stage’s Ain’t Misbehavin’ Brings Jazz Club to Life

Musical celebrates Fats Waller, who helped define the swinging sound of the Golden Age of the Cotton Club

SYRACUSE, NY – Syracuse Stage brought the experience of 1940s Harlem to Syracuse in the Tony Award-winning buoyant musical Ain’t Misbehavin’.  

Named after the song by legendary composer and pianist Fats Waller, Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a classic revue with vibrant performances and a versatile cast channeling Harlem nightlife in the 1940s.

Five talented singer/actors supported by a six-piece band transformed the stage into an inside look at Thomas Wright “Fat’s Waller, a talented composer/performer misplaced by music history.

The Syracuse Stage cast of  Anthony Bogges-Glover’s portrayal of Waller followed by stellar performances by the ensemble of Stephen Scott Wormley, Danielle Herbert, Lexi Rhoads and Robert H. Fowler, strutted, sang, danced and provided the perfect harmonies elevating Waller’s work.  The onstage band added a sense of authenticity to the “club” atmosphere taking you through a review of Fats Wallers classic songs and comedic style.

You may recall many songs that are not associated with their origin, “Honeysuckle Rose”, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, “T’ Ain’t Nobody’s Biz-nez If I do”.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ contains 29 songs, capturing the atmosphere of the late night rent parties where live talent was a constant staple. Musicians participated in “cutting sessions” displaying their musical and entertainment skills.

Waller’s recordings discovered in the 1960’s by Murray Horwitz, who along with Richard Maltby, Jr., initially conceived the idea for Ain’t Misbehavin’. According to Horwitz Fats Waller he belongs in the company of the greats from the Golden Age of Comedy: W.C. Fields, The Marx Brothers and Jack Benny.

The show is an enjoyable glimpse into the era that produced some of the greatest tunes from the golden age of Harlem. Syracuse Stage has produced another winning production.

For those attending as with every performance , the lobby contains a display linking the current play with the history of Jazz in Syracuse during that time, courtesy of the Onondaga County Historic Association.

Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical Show is directed and choreographed by Patdro Harris. The musical performs March 1 – 26 in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama Complex, 820 East Genesee St.

Tickets and more information are available at www.syracusestage.org, by phone at 315-443-3275 and in person at the Syracuse Stage Box Office (Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and two hours before curtain in the evening and on weekends). Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at 315-443-9844. Discounts are also available for seniors, students and U.S military personnel and veterans.

Click on the following link for additional information, including special sessions.  Syracuse Stage presents: Ain’t Misbehavin’- performances and “extras”

 

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