BWW Review: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' at Merrick Theatre & Center For The Arts
Director Rodney Jackson's jumpin' and jivin' production of "Ain't Misbehavin' the Fats Waller Musical Show," is the newest hit in town! This dazzling event chockfull of glitz, glamour, and memorable performances is the latest and greatest production currently blowing the roof off of the Merrick Theatre!
An extraordinary troop of seven first rate professionals present the hits of jazz musician Fats Waller in revue form and strike theater gold just as Nell Carter and Debbie Allen did in the original Broadway production. Dazzling choreography by Milan McGouldrick combined with a swinging orchestra led by Carl Hottinger and brilliant direction by Mr. Jackson are all perfectly aligned to enlighten and enchant audiences from the jazz age and on.
Over thirty songs are brought to life by the highly entertaining cast- each member a vivacious triple threat with vocal pipes just as strong as their dancing feet. The stunning Steven Charles, Makeya Edwards, Selma Jaber, Kevin Knight, Dewayne Queen, Shaina Stroh, and Ms. McGouldrick all shine, shake, and shimmy their way into our musical hearts. Whether it be a solo, duet, trio or ensemble number, this team sticks together like glue and brings out the best in each other. Even before the show began, the gracious cast came into the audience to greet us and make us feel welcome. Who knew what a treat we were all in for?
"Honeysuckle Rose," "Squeeze Me," "The Jitterbug Waltz," and all the Waller standards are present and alive and well. "Fat and Greasy," "The Reefer Song," and "Your Feet's Too Big" all bring down the house with their own uniqueness as well as "Cash For Your Trash" and "How Ya Baby." Even when the lights go dim and the tone softens for "Black and Blue" and "Mean To Me," the results are consistently effervescent.
The Luther Henderson orchestral arrangements were presented gloriously on opening night by Michael Ayala on drums, Shiori DeBellis on bass, Elliot Wolk on trumpet, Laura Fallon on trombone, Dan Battaglia on reeds, and Mr. Hottinger who serves as conductor and pianist. We're certain the scintillating sounds created by the expert musicians also motivated the actors to give their performances of a lifetime.
It would be fantastic if Mr. Jackson brought this joyous production to other stages for all theater lovers to enjoy. "Ain't Misbehavin'" is a wealth of musical greatness and the shot in the arm the Merrick Theatre certainly needed. If you can't see the show by March 24, we suggest you pray to the musical theater Gods that this toe-tapping production shuffles to a theater near you!
Starring: Steven Charles, Makeya Edwards, Selma Jaber, Kevin Knight, Milan McGouldrick, Dewayne Queen, and Shaina Stroh
Directed by Rodney Jackson, Music Direction by Carl Hottinger, Choreographed by Milan McGouldrick
Orchestrations: Michael Ayala, Shiori DeBellis, Barry Schwalb, Laura Fallon, Dan Battaglia, and Carl Hottinger.
For more information and tickets please visit: www.merrick-theatre.com or call: 516-868-6400