Saturday, June 5, 2010
Show #27 "Ain't Misbehavin' " at Centerstage Theatre
Some people just didn't know what a treat they were in for. I guess it was because a theatre group was putting on the show, so these folks expected a traditional play.
Maybe some had forgotten (or didn't know to begin with) about the music of Thomas "Fats" Waller. Apparently, this show, "Ain't Misbehavin' " seemed to be suffering from a few misconceptions.
Chatting with a couple of audience members before the start of the show, one asked me if this was a play about the song, Ain't Misbehavin'. The other remarked, "Isn't this the show that had Gwen Verdon in it?"
Oh baby....were they gonna be surprised.
I was first introduced to the marvelous songs of Fats Waller and the show "Ain't Misbehavin' " in the early 1980s when I took a tap dance class. The instructor used several cuts from the original soundtrack album to teach us the various dance steps that she combined into some swinging routines.
I was so taken by the music that I went out and bought the double LP of the soundtrack and listened (and danced) to it for months after that. That vinyl treasure is probably long gone, but the memories aren't.
Tonight's show was (pardon the cliche) a trip down memory lane for me. It made me wish once again I could sing like those extraordinarily talented performers on the stage. It made me wish I had kept up with my tap dancing.
Mostly, it made me smile....and tap my toes.
Randy was having just as good a time. I glanced over at him and saw a huge grin on his face for much of the evening. It was a smile of a man having fun, and who was appreciative and grateful for the loving legacy to Fats Waller they presented.
The rest of the near-capacity audience must have agreed with us. Folks were hooting, hollering, clapping and tapping plenty of toes. At the end of the evening, we sprung from our seats to give the cast a standing ovation. It was well-deserved.
And those two audience members who thought they were going to see a Gwen Verdon play? One of them ran up to us during intermission and exclaimed, "Isn't this wonderful!!!!???"
I guess she forgot all about that "play" she was supposed to watch. But who can blame her? What she (and the rest of us) got was something even better. I don't know quite how to describe it. The term "musical revue" just doesn't do it justice.
Call it a musical sensation.
Yeah....I like that.
Production graphics courtesy of Centerstage Theatre