AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' to Open Ebony Repertory Theatre 15th Anniversary Season

This limited engagement begins May 4, 2023 and runs through May 28, 2023.

By: Mar. 29, 2023
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AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' to Open Ebony Repertory Theatre 15th Anniversary Season

Ebony Repertory Theatre will present the Tony Award-winning musical AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' as its 15th Anniversary Season Opening Production. AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' features music by Thomas "Fats" Waller and was conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horowitz. Producing Artistic Director Wren T. Brown (ERT's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill and Blues in the Night) directs this sizzling celebration of Fats Waller's music, with choreography by Dominque Kelley and musical direction by William Foster McDaniel (Broadway's Ain't Misbehavin', Bubbling Brown Sugar, Timbuktu!). This limited engagement begins May 4, 2023 and runs through May 28, 2023, with the opening on Saturday, May 6. AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' will play at Ebony Repertory Theatre's home, the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (4718 West Washington Boulevard) in Los Angeles. Tickets are on sale now at, or phone 323-964-9766.

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' is a musical tribute to Fats Waller, the international jazz pianist whose passion for pleasure and play helped create and define American swing. The revue features a five-person cast performing hit songs like "Honeysuckle Rose," "Your Feet's Too Big," "Black and Blue," "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Right Myself a Letter," "The Jitterbug Waltz," and the title song, Ain't Misbehavin'.

"In 2022, I had the good fortune of directing the Tony Award-winning musical revue, Ain't Misbehavin'at the Rubicon Theatre. As the rehearsal process was developing, I kept thinking of how much our audience at Ebony Repertory Theatre would love the show, and how beautifully the production would sit on our stage at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center," said Director Wren T. Brown. "Well, I cannot be more excited to announce that "Ain't Misbehavin'" will be the first production of Ebony Repertory Theatre's 15th anniversary year. Celebrating the genius of Thomas "Fats" Waller and his colleagues, this show is a recipe for a joyful experience. I feel greatly fortunate to have assembled an extraordinary group of actors, designers, and musicians to bring this wonderful property to life."

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' features Yvette Cason (Broadway's Play On! and Dreamgirls) as Nell, Wilkie Ferguson III (Broadway's Motown: The Musical and Porgy and Bess) as Andre, Connie Jackson (Broadway's Dreamgirls, Boston Court's Cassiopea) as Armelia, Marty Austin Lamar (Off-Broadway's Miss Evers Boys, Constellation Theatre's Little Shop of Horrors) as Ken, and Natalie Wachen (HBO's Boardwalk Empire, Broadway's Merrily We Roll Along) as Charlayne.

In addition to Brown, Kelley and McDaniel, the creative team for AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' includes scenic designer John Iacovelli, costume designer Wendell C. Carmichael, lighting designer Andrew Schmedake, sound designer Danny Fiandaca, props/furniture designer Kevin Williams, associate choreographer Lee Daniel, casting is by Michael Donovan, CSA and Richard Ferris, CSA, and production stage manager Art Brickman.

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' was conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horowitz with music by Fats Waller. The production originally opened in the Manhattan Theatre Club's East 73rd cabaret on February 8, 1978. The musical opened on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre on May 9, 1978. Richard Maltby was the director, with musical staging and choreography by Arthur Faria. The original Broadway cast featured Nell Carter, André DeShields, Armelia McQueen, Ken Page, and Charlayne Woodard. AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' was the recipient of three 1978 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' runs from May 4 to May 28, 2023, with the opening on Saturday, May 6 at 8:00 p.m. Performances are held at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 West Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. The schedule is Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tickets range from $35.00 - $55.00 and are available online at or by phone at 323-964-9766. Groups of 10 or more are available via email at or 323-964-9766.


Wren T. Brown (Director). This fourth generation Angeleno, is an Actor, Producer and Director. Films include: Beyond the Lights, Waiting to Exhale, Heart and Souls, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, and Hollywood Shuffle. Partial list of television, voice-over, and theatre credits include: co-starred as Whoopi Goldberg's brother and comic foil, on NBC's Whoopi. Recurring roles: The Orville, and Grey's Anatomy. Guest Stars: Transparent, Dear White People,Curb Your Enthusiasm, Being Mary Jane, The Simpsons, Frasier, Seinfeld. Voice-Over Narration: The History Channel's U.S.S. Constellation: Battling For Freedom, E! True Hollywood Story on the life of Diana Ross and Bronzeville. Theatre: As You Like It, On Borrowed Time, and The Gospel at Colonus. Recent Theatre Directing: Fences, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. Wren is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of the award-winning, Ebony Repertory Theatre, Los Angeles' first and only African American professional theatre company.

DOMINQUE KELLEY (Choreographer) is originally from Bridgeport, CT. He has been creating movement for musical theatre, tv, film, recording artists, and sports team entertainment for over two decades. At the ripe old age of 16 he co-choreographed Wild Women Blues, and has also choreographed such musical theatre staples as Oklahoma! (DCPA),Sophisticated Ladies (ZACH), and Singin' in the Rain (ZACH). "Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special," "SYTYCD," "Perry Mason," Come Dance with Me," "Flirty Dancing," "The Masked Singer," "Dancing with the Stars" and "Bar Rescue" are a few of the television shows he has lent his artistic talents to. No stranger to stage and live performance, he has collaborated with recording artists such as Beyoncé', Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Usher, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Pink, Camila Cabello, Taylor Swift and countless others. He has been one of the main choreographers for such sports teams as the San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, LA Clippers, and various teams around the country. Dominique's goal and endeavor are to bring movement and dance artistry to every facet of the entertainment industry.

William Foster McDaniel (Musical Director, Conductor, Pianist) is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at Capital University in his native Columbus, Ohio. He earned his Master of Music degree at Boston University and continued his studies in Paris, France as a Fulbright Scholar. Based in New York, Mr. McDaniel musical directed and conducted Broadway musicals throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. In that capacity he brought three National Tours, back to back, to Los Angeles: Bubblin' Brown Sugar, and Timbuktu! (starring Eartha Kitt), both at the Pantages, and the original cast of Ain't Misbehavin' at the Aquarius Theatre. Since recently relocating to L.A., Mr. McDaniel has musical directed Blues in the Night at the Ebony Repertory Theatre and at the Beverly O'Neill Theatre in Long Beach, CA. and Carmen Jones at the Ensemble Theatre Company in Santa Barbara, CA. Mr. McDaniel utilized his Pandemic "free time" to study, record and post his interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations on YouTube.

THOMAS "FATS" WALLER (May 21, 1904 - December 15, 1943) was an African-American jazz pianist, organist, composer and comedic entertainer. He was born Thomas Wright Waller in New York City. Waller studied classical piano and organ before apprenticing himself to legendary Harlem stride pianist James P. Johnson. Johnson introduced Waller to the world of rent parties (a party with a piano player, designed to help pay the rent by charging the guests), and soon he developed a performing career. He was an excellent pianist-now usually considered one of the very best who ever played in the stride style-but his songwriting and his lovable, roguish stage personality ("One never knows, do one?") overshadowed his playing. Before his solo career, he played with many performers, from Erskine Tate to Bessie Smith, but his greatest success came with his own five- or six-piece combo, FATS WALLER AND HIS RHYTHM. Among his songs are "Squeeze Me" 1919, "Ain't Misbehavin'" 1929, "Blue Turning Grey Over You" 1930, "Honeysuckle Rose" 1929, "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling" 1929, and "Jitterbug Waltz" 1942. He collaborated with the Tin Pan Alley lyricist Andy Razaf and had a commercially successful career which, according to some music critics, eclipsed his great musical talent. His nickname came about because he weighed nearly 300 pounds (136 kg). His weight and drinking are believed to have contributed to his death. Waller also made a successful tour of the British Isles in the late 1930's and appeared in one of the earliest BBC Television broadcasts. He also appeared in several feature films and short subject films, most notably STORMY WEATHER in 1943. With Razaf he wrote "What Did I Do (To Be So Black and Blue)?" in 1929 which became a hit for Louis Armstrong. This song, a searing treatment of racism, black and white, calls into question the accusations of "shallow entertainment" leveled at both Armstrong and Waller. On December 15, 1943, at age 39, Waller died aboard an eastbound train in the vicinity of Kansas City, Missouri, following a west coast engagement.

Richard Maltby, JR. (Original Director, Conceiver) On Broadway, he 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; also, Dominium Theatre London 2019). With Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, Co-Lyricist: Miss Saigon, Evening Standard Award, London 1990; Tony nomination: Best Score, 1991; Co-Lyricist: The Pirate Queen, (2007). Director: The Story of My Life (2009). Director/Co-Lyricist: Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance (1986 Tony Award for star, Bernadette Peters.) Off-Broadway Work includes with David Shire: Director/Lyricist Starting Here, Starting Now (1977, Grammy nomination) and Closer Than Ever, (1989, two Outer Critics Circle Awards: Best Musical, Best Score; also, Off-Broadway Alliance Award, Best Musical Revival 2013; and London Jermyn Street Theatre 2014,). Director: Just Jim Dale (Roundabout Theatre 2014, Vaudeville Theatre, London 2015). Regional Credits include: Lyricist/conceiver, Take Flight, (Menier Chocolate Factory, London 2010; McCarter Theatre 2012); Book and Lyrics, Waterfall (2015, Pasadena Playhouse and Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theatre); Lyricist, new musical Sousatzka (2017, Toronto). Film credits include: Screenplay, "Miss Potter", (2007: Christopher Award, best screenplay.). Contributes cryptic crossword puzzles to "Harper's Magazine." He is the son of a well-known orchestra leader; Five children: Nicholas, David, Jordan, Emily and Charlotte.

Murray Horwitz began his career working with Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus as a clown for three years. In 1973, after moving to New York City, Horwitz appeared in the one-man show, An Evening of Sholom Aleichem, which was directed by Richard Maltby Jr., and in which he continues to perform at The Kennedy Center, The Manhattan Theatre Club, and The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater. In 1978, Horwitz created Ain't Misbehavin' with Richard Maltby Jr. The musical is named after a Fats Waller song. Horwitz received multiple awards for co-writing Ain't Misbehavin', including a Tony, Obie, Emmy, Grammy, and New York Drama Critics' Circle award. He became the assistant director of Opera-Musical Theater at the National Endowment for the Arts in 1987.] Since 1998, Horwitz has been creative consultant to the annual Mark Twain Prize ceremonies at the Kennedy Center. In 1989, he began his career at NPR, where he was instrumental in giving radio game show Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! its start.[2] He is also frequently a panelist on another public radio game show, Says You! He was also involved with 'Wynton Marsalis: Making the Music," and "The NPR Basic Jazz Record Library." Horwitz received three Peabody awards for his work at NPR. In 2002, Horwitz became the founding director of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was the director and chief executive officer from 2002 until 2009. He later served in fundraising positions at Washington National Opera and the Washington Performing Arts Society. In 2016, Horwitz took over as host of WAMU's "The Big Broadcast" old-time radio show. He gave Lin-Manuel Miranda critical suggestions and bought him his first rhyming dictionary when Miranda was writing his first play, In the Heights. He is also a co-host of the podcast "Question of the Day."


(ERT), under the direction of Founder/Producing Artistic Director Wren T. Brown and Managing Director Gayle Hooks, is the resident company and operator of the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. ERT is Los Angeles' only African American professional theatre company. Under Wren T. Brown's producorial leadership, ERT has produced Ovation Award and NAACP Theatre Award-winning productions of August Wilson's Two Trains Running and Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In the Sun. Most recent productions include Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, Five Guys Named Moe which starred Emmy Award-winner Obba Babatundé and received 10 Ovation Award nominations and an NAACP Theatre Award for Rogelio Douglas, Jr. - "Best Supporting Male - Larger Theatre; and Gospel at Colonus, which starred Tony Award-winner Roger Robinson and garnered 14 Ovation Award nominations. Other ERT productions include Jeff Stetson's Fraternity and Phillip Hayes Dean's Robeson, Sheldon Epps's Blues in the Night, and more.


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