Richard Maltby, Jr. Directs Star-Studded Cast for DTC's AIN'T MISBEHAVIN', Now thru 4/27
Delaware Theatre Company will close its 35th season with the 35th anniversary of the hit musical AIN'T MISBEHAVIN', conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz. Delaware Theatre Company's production will be directed by original Broadway director and co-creator Richard Maltby, Jr. and feature his own handpicked cast alongside the original designs from the 1978 Tony Award-winning production.
The Harlem Renaissance was a period of burgeoning creativity, cultural awareness and pride. It was also the Golden Age for venues like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom; a time when the dives along Lenox Avenue were ablaze from stride piano players banging out the new beat, swing. One of the most prolific musicians of the time and an originator of swing music was Thomas "Fats" Waller, a formidable composer and pianist with a legendary lust for life. "Ain't Misbehavin'" was one of his most popular recordings, originally heard on Broadway in 1930. The stage version of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' is a vibrant musical revue and tribute to the black musicians of the early 1900's. Bold, bright and told with the cheeky humor for which "Fats" Waller was known, AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' is sure to bring the house down.
Conceived and originally directed by Maltby, Jr., AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' was based on an idea by Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz. The original 1978 Broadway production made a star out of its leading lady, the late Nell Carter, and featured such "Fats" Waller tunes as "Mean to Me," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Black and Blue" and the title tune. The musical won four Tony Awards including: Best Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Carter) and Best Direction of a Musical (Maltby, Jr.). On Maltby, Executive Director Bud Martin says: "Richard is such a wonderful person and director and I am thrilled to have him here at Delaware Theatre Company as we close our 35th season".
Richard Maltby, Jr. has had an illustrious Broadway career which includes: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' (Co-creator and Director: Tony, N.Y. Drama Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards -- also Tony Award for Best Director), FOSSE (1999: Tony, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards); as well as RING OF FIRE, (2006). With composer David Shire, Maltby also directed BABY, (1983, seven Tony nominations); and was the lyricist for BIG, (1996, Tony nomination: Best Score). Mr. Maltby also directed the 2008 Broadway production of THE STORY OF MY LIFE; a musical that DTC's audiences recently saw in December of 2013 with Broadway actor Rob McClure and Philadelphia native Ben Dibble.
"I was honored to direct a national tour of Richard's STARTING HERE, STARTING NOW in 1979 - which started at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, PA," says Martin, "and we reunited in 2008 when I co-produced THE STORY OF MY LIFE on Broadway".
Delaware Theatre Company's production of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' will star five veteran Broadway actors and actresses, two of which who have been to DTC in the past. Doug Eskew, who has performed in AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' both regionally and on the national tours, was last seen in DTC's production of CROWNS in 2012. Debra Walton, who was last seen by DTC audiences in the then Off-Broadway bound production of COOKIN' at the COOKERY, has also been seen on Broadway in THE PAJAMA GAME and the national tour of SOUTH PACIFIC. The cast also includes Eugene Fleming (Broadway's FOSSE, SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE, KISS ME, KATE), Cynthia Thomas (Regionally: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN', CASPER: THE MUSICAL w/ Chita Rivera, and THE MUSIC MAN), and Kecia Lewis (Broadway's CHICAGO, SHREK, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, DREAMGIRLS, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, AIN'T MISBEHAVIN').
AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' will run at the Delaware Theatre Company from April 2-27, 2014. Single tickets range from $40 to $50 and are on sale now by calling the Delaware Theatre Company Box Office at (302) 594-1100, online at delawaretheatre.org, or by visiting the Box Office at 200 Water Street, Wilmington DE, 19801. Group rates and discounts for seniors, students, and military members are available.
The Cast of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN':
Doug Eskew (Man 1)
is happy to return to DTC, he was last seen in the role of "Man" in CROWNS (Barrymore Award nomination) and as "Blue" in CHASIN' DEM BLUES. Broadway: THE COLOR PURPLE (Rev. Avery), FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE (Big Moe), TRULY BLESSED. Off Broadway: THUNDER KNOCKING ON THE DOOR, JOSEPHINE SONG. National Tours: THE COLOR PURPLE, FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE (NAACP nomination and LA Ovation Award), CATS, DREAMGIRLS, AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'. Regional Theater: DANCE OF THE HOLY GHOST, CAROLINE OR CHANGE (Salt Award nomination), CHASIN DEM' BLUES, CROWNS (Barrymore Award nomination), DREAMGIRLS, THUNDER KNOCKING ON THE DOOR (Helen Hayes nomination), AIN'T MISBEHAVIN (Helen Hayes nomination), MA RAINEYS BLACK BOTTOM, POLK COUNTY and GOLDEN BOY. Television Credits: "One Life To Live", "The Oprah Winfrey Show", "Late Night with David Letterman", "The Tonight Show", "Good Morning America" and "The Tony Awards" Show (1992 & 2005).
Eugene Fleming (Man 2)
is a graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts. His Broadway career spans three decades and includes such shows as A CHORUS LINE, SOPHISTICATED LADIES, THE TAP DANCE KID, SONG AND DANCE, BLACK & BLUE, HIGH ROLLERS, THE WIZ, SWINGING ON A STAR, STREET CORNER SYMPHONY, FOSSE, SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE, KISS ME, KATE, ONE MO' TIME, THE LOOK OF LOVE, NEVER GONNA DANCE, and BILLY ELLIOTT. He just finished DRIVING MISS DAISY in Huntsville, Alabama and BLACK ODYSSEY in Denver, Colorado. He received a Joseph Jefferson Award for his performance in AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' and a Barrymore Award for his portrayal of James Thunder Early in DREAMGIRLS. In addition, he has been featured in countless commercials and films, including "Catch Me If You Can", "The Blues Brothers" and "Hope and Faith".
Kecia Lewis (Woman 1)
has crafted her career playing powerful women. Broadway: Leap of Faith (Original Broadway cast), Chicago, Shrek, The Drowsy Chaperone (Original Broadway cast), Dreamgirls (Original Broadway cast), Once on This Island (Original Broadway cast), Ain't Misbehavin' (Original Broadway cast revival), Big River, The Gospel at Colonus (Original Broadway cast), Off-Broadway: Dessa Rose (Drama Desk nomination for Best Featured Actress). Regional: Dreamgirls (Ovation Award Winner for Best Lead Actress), Polk County (Bay Area Outer Critic's Circle Award Winner for Best Lead Actress), Raisin (L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award nomination), Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Hairspray, Smokey Joe's Café, South Pacific, The Sound of Music. Film/TV: "Shelter" (Fall 2014 release), "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", "Law & Order" (original), "Law & Order SVU", "Crossing Jordan", "The Hughley's". Favorite role: Simon's mommy.
Cynthia Thomas (Woman 3/Dance Captain)
is happy to have the opportunity to be performing here at DTC. National/European Tour: Ain't Misbehavin' starring the Pointer Sisters; and served as dance captain/understudy/Mr Faria's assistant on many. Casper The Musical, starring Chita Rivera (Lanie), The Music Man (Ethel Toffelmeier) Regional: A Christmas Carol (Ghost of Christmas Present), Hairspray (Motormouth Maybelle), WMKS Christmas 1942 (Audrey Newton), Memphis (Honey Malone), North Shore Music Theater: Show Boat (Queenie), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Jewel), South Pacific (Bloody Mary), Godspell (Joanne), Nunsense I, II, Nuncrackers & Nunsensations (Sister Mary Hubert) You Can't Take It With You (Rheba), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Jewel), Show Boat (Queenie), Once On This Island (Asaka), Smokey Joe's Café (BJ) Film: "Malcolm X", starring Denzel Washington (Spike Lee's dance partner).
Debra Walton (Woman 2)
Last seen by DTC audiences in the then off Broadway-Bound Cookin' at the Cookery, Debra is thrilled to be returning to be reunited with the "Ain't" family! Broadway & Off Broadway: The Pajama Game, Storyville!, The Bubbly Black Girl and Cookin' At the Cookery the Life and Times of Alberta Hunter, in which Debra created her award winning roles earning her a Drama Desk Nomination and a Barrymore Award. National Tour: South Pacific, Annie Get Your Gun and Chicago, playing multiple roles including Mama Morton! For more fun facts about Walton and to see video clips check out www.debrawalton.com and YouTube.
Richard Maltby, Jr. (Co-Creator & Director)
Broadway: Conceived and directed two Tony Award winning musicals: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' (1978: Tony, N.Y. Drama Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards -- also Tony Award for Best Director.) FOSSE (1999: Tony, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards); as well as RING OF FIRE, (2006). With composer David Shire: director/lyricist: BABY, (1983, seven Tony nominations); lyricist: BIG, (1996, Tony nomination: Best Score); lyricist/conceiver, TAKE FLIGHT (2010), With Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, co-lyricist: MISS SAIGON (Evening Standard Award 1990; Tony nomination: Best Score, 1991); co-bookwriter/lyricist: THE PIRATE QUEEN (2007). Director: THE STORY OF MY LIFE (2009). Director/co-lyricist: SONG & DANCE, (1986 Tony Award for star, Bernadette Peters.) Off-Broadway: director/lyricist STARTING HERE, STARTING NOW, (1977, Grammy nomination) and CLOSER THAN EVER, (1989, two Outer Critics Circle Awards: Best Musical, Best Score), both written with composer David Shire. Regional: director, MASK (2008, Pasadena Playhouse); director, THE 60'S PROJECT (2006, Goodspeed). Film: Screenplay, MISS POTTER, (2007: Christopher Award, best screenplay.). Contributes crossword puzzles to Harpers Magazine. Son of well-known orchestra leader; Five children: Nicholas, David, Jordan, Emily and Charlotte.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride