Coronado Playhouse East jazzed up to present Ain’t Misbehavin’ The Fats Waller Musical Show in San Diego County! Throughout its run falls Black Music Month (June), International Jazz Day, Fats Waller’s birthday, and the newly cemented national holiday, Juneteenth. An appropriate musical to commemorate many feast days!
The Tony Award-winning musical (1978) is titled after jazz phenom, Fats Waller, a sort of enigma from the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance. He performed alongside other jazz age icons, such as Lena Horne, was kidnapped and forced to play for Al Capone, known for his loud personality on and off stage, and celebrated for his expertise in stride piano playing – a difficult technique in which the right hand plays the melody while the left hand alternates between a single note and a chord played an octave or more higher. “Ain’t Misbehavin'” is arguably the musician’s most popular track, earning Waller posthumous Grammy achievements, induction into multiple halls of fame, and inclusion in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Music. Congress. Waller was the type of composer we surely recognize in the sound, but would be hard pressed to name him.
The Coronado Playhouse production of Is not it Bad behaviour will elevate the talent of Fats Waller, as well as other artists who often have to work a little harder to reach center stage. The featured community partner for this performance is the San Diego Black Artist Collective, a new nonprofit organization working to create a more equitable theatrical landscape throughout San Diego County. Coronado Playhouse also reached out to several black-owned organizations for cross-promotion and to help elevate other arts organizations in the community.
Don’t misbehave is directed by Spencer John Powell (artistic director and co-owner) and co-produced by Mickey Mounarath (commercial director) of Visionary Dance Theater in East County. Both artists have extensive experience performing and directing numerous productions, including several original works, and have danced across the country with other companies. It’s this expertise that will guide a thrilling yet thought-provoking piece highlighting the trials and triumphs of the title character through his big band numbers and powerful ballads. The cast is small, especially for a musical, with seven principals including Ed Wortham portraying Fats Waller, flanked by two additional dancers; but the cast is powerful, already filling the rehearsal rooms with massive harmonies, riffs and vibrato. As we enter the first pandemic summer with the fewest COVID restrictions and protocol yet, this show is sure to usher in a season of joy and excitement for music and theater lovers.
Is not it Misbehavin’ The Fats Waller Musical Show will perform from May 20 to June 19; Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
- Single tickets: Thursday $24, Friday $27, Saturday $30, Sunday $27
- Discounts of $12.50 to $28 for active duty military, students and seniors.
- Group discounts are available for groups of 8 or more. (Price will automatically adjust when 8 or more adult tickets are purchased together. Group rates apply to adult ticket price only).