Review: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace

Production runs through August 18

By: Jul. 03, 2024
Review: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace
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Find Out What They Like

That is one of the songs written by Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller. Ain’t Misbehavin’, the musical review of his music, is the current production at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. Originally performed on Broadway in 1978, this was not a typical musical even though it won the Tony for best new musical. Nell Carter also won a Tony as best actress in a featured role as did the creator and director, Richard Maltby, Jr.

The set, designed by Andrew Boyce, is a gorgeous 1930’s classy and intimate Chicago music joint.  It is noted that Al Capone was impressed by Mr. Waller and had his thugs kidnap him because Capone wanted him to play at his birthday party.  The lighting, by Lee Fiskness, is stunning. You might feel underdressed. In Act One, the costumes, by McKinley Johnson, are colorful. In Act Two, the costumes are very elegant and are champagne color. Under the direction of E. Faye Butler, the cast of Lorenzo Rush, Jr., Sharrise Y. Hamilton, Alanna Lovely, Alexis J. Roston and James T. Lane, give Mr. Waller’s songs a richness and depth that produce goosebumps and chills. There is also audience participation. The orchestra, which is onstage, is under the direction of William Foster McDaniel playing an upright piano.

Mr. Waller wrote more than 400 songs. There are over 30 songs in this production. It is a wonderful musical history journey. There is no plot or storyline. This is a celebration of the life and music of one of America’s great songwriters. He started out as a theater organist and then became one of the most talented jazz pianists. I do believe Mr. Waller found out what they like. Thank you, Fats


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