By Emily Whitehead
Alhambra Theatre and Dining’s production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” had the audience toe-tapping and singing along all night. This tribute to the Harlem Renaissance jazz singers of the 1920s and ‘30s and a celebration of legendary jazz writer Thomas “Fats” Waller was a boisterous night of rib-tickling songs.
“Ain’t Misbehavin’,” winner of the 1978 Tony Award for Best Musical, was full of early swing songs that took the audience through a wide range of moods. Some of the songs were lighthearted and fun like “‘T Ain’t Nobody’s Bis-ness If I Do” and “Lounging At The Waldorf.” Some were flirtatious, full of innuendo, like “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now.” And there was even a somber ballad, “Black and Blue.” The musical was produced and directed by Tod Booth and the cast of singers couldn’t have performed better.
Tarra Jones led the singing cast with her full vocal range and powerful presence. She sang a very lighthearted and flirty “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now” and then performed “Black and Blue,” so full of emotion and message. The cast collaborated on several jazz songs with hilarious lyrics like “Cash for Your Trash” and “Fat and Greeasy.” Other notable performances were E. Mani Cadet’s “Your Feet’s Too Big That Ain’t Right” and Christopher G. Patterson’s “The Viper’s Drag.”
The jazz band, led by pianist Anthony Felton, received much applause as the musicians carried the audience through the range of moods. Chef DeJuan Roy created a delicious meal to complement the Harlem Jazz scene. Guests had a choice of spinach salad or atlas mountain soup for the first course. The second course options were pork rib eye, fried flounder, homemade dumplings, or BBQ jackfruit. Save room for the final course of apple cake or sweet potato cheesecake.
“Ain’t Misbehavin’” will appear at Alhambra Theatre and Dining until June 9. Visit www.alhambrajax.com for tickets and more information.
Photo courtesy Alhambra Theatre and Dining
The cast of “Ain’t Misbehavin’”