Two Different Casts Take on Ain’t Misbehavin’ at NRACT | Arts

Two Different Casts Take on Ain’t Misbehavin’ at NRACT

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Ain't Misbehavin' - PHOTO COURTESY OF NRACT
  • Photo courtesy of NRACT
  • Ain't Misbehavin'
AIN'T MISBEHAVIN
FRIDAY, MARCH 9–SUNDAY, MARCH 25
NORTH RALEIGH ARTS & CREATIVE THEATRE, RALEIGH
$12-$20; CHECK WEBSITE FOR TIMES
nract.org

The Harlem Renaissance jazz pianist Thomas "Fats" Waller was larger than life: "Mama Waller's 285 pounds of jam, jive, and everything," he called himself on an early phonograph recording of the song that gives this Tony-winning 1978 musical revue its title. On stage and in films like MGM's Stormy Weather, Waller affected the persona of a mischievous, derby-sporting man about town, delivering arch repartee and song lyrics at an upright piano. His innovations as a composer took stride piano uptown in lesser-known works such as "African Ripples" and his musical Early to Bed. At NRACT, a quintet of musicians sells the sophisticated sizzle of Waller's greatest hits in a late-night club. Liz Grimes Droessler saw enough good auditions to cast the show twice, with a "blue" cast including Aya Wallace and Juan Isler and a "green" cast featuring Babs Watson and Stan Williams in alternating performances. —Byron Woods

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