Richard Maltby Jr.'s AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' to Return to New York?

Richard Maltby Jr.'s AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' to Return to New York?

The Delaware Theatre Company's production of Ain't Misbehavin', directed by Richard Maltby, Jr., could be eying a return to the New York stage, according to Delaware Online.

Maltby, who won a Tony Award in 1978 for his direction of the musical, may be in talks with Off-Broadway stages in an effort to bring his Delaware production back to the Big Apple. Maltby's staging of Ain't Misbehavin' at the Delaware Theatre Company is intimate and sets an example for future productions, according to a letter he wrote to the cast explaining his decision to record the production.

"This production is probably as close to the original as we are ever going to get," Maltby said. "People are going to do 'Ain't' in a lot of different ways in the future. There is no stopping them, and some might be clever and effective, who knows. But from now on, with this film in hand, afterward, the show will always return to its roots."

Delaware Online spoke to cast member Kecia Lewis about Ain't Misbehavin's potential return to New York.

"I think that would be fantastic," she said. "Something like 'Ain't' is probably closest to the form as it was originally intended, which was to give a picture of someone's personality and historical context to what they contributed musically... In that regard, it would be great so see that revival."

Lewis said she's hopeful that the production will get people talking about Fats Waller and his cultural contribution.

"I would hope people would walk away with an appreciation of that time period, and the brilliant musician that [Waller] was and want to know more about him and the composers of the Harlem Renaissance," she said.

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.

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.

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.

To read Delaware Online's full article, click here.

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