Ain’t Misbehavin’ comes to Long Wharf Theatre October 26 through November 20
Long Wharf Theatre, under the director of Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein and Interim Managing Director Joshua Borenstein, presents the Tony Award-winning musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ on the Mainstage from Oct. 26 through Nov. 20.
The cast is comprised of Eugene Barry-Hill, Doug Eskew, Kecia Lewis-Evans, Cynthia Thomas and Debra Walton, all of whom have previously appeared in productions of Ain’t Misbehavin’. Director Richard Maltby assembles his 1978 Tony Award winning team to return the show to its original cabaret-style luster: co-director/choreographer Arthur Faria, musical director Phillip Hall, John Lee Beatty (sets), Gail Baldoni (costumes), Pat Collins (lights), and Tom Morse (sound). The stage manager is Bonnie Brady.
Tickets range from $40-70 and can be purchased at 203-787-4282 or at www.longwharf.org
Ain’t Misbehavin’ goes back in time to 1930s Harlem, the Golden Age of jazz palaces like the Cotton Club, the Savoy Ballroom and the honky tonk dives on Lenox Avenue, where pulsing swing music played all hours of the day. This funny, rowdy, yet startling beautiful musical brings to life the world of jazz great Fats Waller through songs like “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “The Joint is Jumpin’,” “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” and many other hits.. “This musical re-creation of Fats Waller, the jazz singer and pianist, is a whole cluster of marvels … heart-stopping.,” said The New York Times.
Long Wharf Theatre continues its tradition of reexamining musicals, looking for the vitality and excitement that made the shows hits in the first place. Recent productions of The Fantasticks, Carousel, Man of La Mancha and Guys and Dolls have solidified the theatre’s inquiry into this uniquely American art form. Long Wharf Theatre’s production of the play is rooted in the show’s original, cabaret style. “In our continued exploration of the great American musical, we are tackling Ain’t Misbehavin’, which is an homage to Fats Waller and a look at a highly influential style of performing. It is a type of time travel back to the 1920s, the days of Cotton Club, to a style of performance that we don’t see anymore,” Edelstein said.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Mr. Barry-Hill is grateful to make his Long Wharf Theatre debut. Broadway: The Lion King (Mufasa). Off-Broadway: The Magdalene (Pilatus) National Tours: Miss Saigon (John), Ain’t Misbehavin’ w/ The Pointer Sisters (Andre), Jesus Christ Superstar (w/ Carl Anderson), Regional: Sckbstrd (world premiere Bruce Hornsby musical, Virginia Stage) Hello Dolly (Horace, Fulton Opera House), Ragtime (Coalhouse, San Diego CLO), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (30th Anniversary Edition, Ahmanson CTG, Los Angeles).Thanks to Arthur & Richard. Dedicated to Mom and Timothy.
Mr. Eskew is happy to return to the Long Wharf Theatre. He appeared here in Golden Boy and The Barbarian Women (Writers Workshop). Broadway: Rev. Avery in The Color Purple, Big Moe in Five Guys Named Moe, Truly Blessed. Off Broadway: Thunder Knocking on the Door, Josephine Song. National Tours: The Color Purple, Cats, Dreamgirls, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Five Guys Named Moe (NAACP nomination and LA Ovation Award). Regional credits: Chasin Dem’ Blues, Ain’t Misbehavin (Helen Hayes nomination), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Polk County, Crowns, Golden Boy and Thunder Knocking on the Door (Helen Hayes nomination).
Television credits: “One Life to Live,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show,” “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and “The Tony Awards Show” (1992 & 2005).
Ms. Lewis-Evans appeared on Broadway in Shrek, The Drowsy Chaperone, Chicago, Once On This Island, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Big River. She has also worked extensively in regional theatres. Her television credits include “Crossing Jordan” and “Law & Order.”
Ms. Thomas is happy to have the opportunity to perform here at Long Wharf Theatre in her hometown. Cynthia grew up in New Haven and Bethany and attended The Educational Center for the Arts and graduated from Amity Sr. High School. National and European tours: Ain’t Misbehavin, starring the Pointer Sisters; and served as dance captain/understudy/Mr. Faria’s assistant on many. Casper: The Musical, starring Chita Rivera (Lanie), The Music Man (Ethel Toffelmeier). Regional: A Christmas Carol (Ghost of Christmas Present), Hairspray (Motormouth Maybelle), WMKS Christmas 1942 (Audrey Newton), Memphis (Honeylovin), North Shore Music Theater; Show Boat (Queenie), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Jewel), South Pacific (Bloody Mary), Godspell (Joanne), Nunsense I, II & Nuncrackers (Sister Mary Hubert), You Can’t Take It With You (Rheba), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Jewel), Show Boat (Queenie), Once On This Island (Asaka), Smokey Joe’s Café (BJ) FILM: Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington (Spike Lee’s dance partner), among others. Many thanks to the creator for her many blessings. Thanks to my Mother, family, friends and to her mentor Arthur Faria for their love and support.
Debra is thrilled to be renunited with the Ain’t Misbehavin’ family. In a recent production with the St. Louis Rep and Cincinnati Playhouse, she paid tribute to one of her childhood idols, Tina Turner, in Beehive! In The Pajama Game on Broadway Debra was seen singing and dancing with Harry Connick, Jr. Off Broadway she created her award winning roles in Cookin’ At the Cookery: The Life and Times of Alberta Hunter, earning her a Drama Desk Nomination and a Barrymore Award. Honing her skills on tour and in the regions Debra has played a wide variety of roles, from Anita in West Side Story to Minnie Fae in Hello Dolly. Her national tours include, Annie Get Your Gun and Chicago, playing multiple roles including Mama Morton. Debra just produced, directed and starred in her biggest production to date. She married Shoun Hill! For more fun facts about Walton please check out www.debrawalton.com.
Richard Maltby, Jr.
Director/Conceiver/Lyricist: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1978: Tony, N.Y. Drama Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards, Best Musical — also Tony Award for Best Director.) Director/Conceiver Fosse (1999: Tony, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards, Best Musical); Ring of Fire, (2006). Director/lyricist: Baby, (1983, seven Tony Award nominations); Starting Here, Starting Now, (1977, Grammy nomination); Closer Than Ever, (1989, Outer Critics Circle Awards: Best Musical, Best Score. Lyricist: Big, (1996, Tony nomination: Best Score); Take Flight (2010 McCarter Theatre) Co-lyricist: Miss Saigon (Evening Standard Award 1990; Tony nomination: Best Score, 1991); co-bookwriter/lyricist: The Pirate Queen (2007). Director, The Story Of My Life (2009). Director/co-lyricist: Song & Dance, (1986 Tony Award for star, Bernadette Peters.) Director, Mask (2008, Pasadena Playhouse); The 60’s Project (2006, Goodspeed). FILM: Miss Potter, (2007) starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor (Christopher Award, best screenplay.). Thirty year association with The Manhattan Theatre Club. Contributes devilish crossword puzzles to Harpers Magazine. Son of well-known orchestra leader; Five children: Nicholas, David, Jordan, Emily and Charlotte.
Mr. Faria created the original staging and choreography for the 1978 Tony Award-winning musical Ain’t Misbehavin’. He received both the Tony and Drama Desk award nominations, and shared the Obie for the original production at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Arthur recreated his work for the tenth anniversary Broadway revival starring the original cast. He has directed major productions of Ain’t starring the Pointer Sisters, Della Reese, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Lena Horne personally selected Mr. Faria to create, direct and choreograph her triumphant return to Broadway in Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. This Tony Award-winning production garnered a second Drama Desk award nomination for Mr. Faria. Critics praised “ Faria’s fleshy-flashy staging” of the notorious Storyville at Washington D.C.’s Ford’s Theatre and his original The All-night Strut, broke all records at that historic theatre. Off-Broadway audiences have enjoyed his award-winning work in Trixie True, Teen Detective, A Bundle of Nerves, and the roller skating musical, The Derby. Television credits include NBC’s celebrated presentation of Ain’t Misbehavin’, and PBS’s “Great Performances” production of “Duke Ellington: The Music Lives On”. Both earned him Emmy Award nominations. Stars that have called upon Arthur’s talents include; Bette Midler, Bobby Short, Valentina and Leonid Koslov of the Bolshoi Ballet, Bette Davis, Richard Gere, Liv Ulman, Alice Faye and John Payne, The Fifth Dimension, and The Village People, to name just a few. Recently, he staged the American Idol National Tour with Ruben Studdard, and L.A., critics lauded his “joyously jaw-dropping carnality” in his latest “Ain’t” at the Ahmanson Theatre. Mr. Faria holds a Doctorate Degree in Fine and Performing Arts from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
This production marks Phillip’s ninth stint as musical director of Ain’t Misbehavin’. A pianist of remarkable versatility, he has been involved in diverse musical activities. He has performed with Aretha Franklin, Delfeayo Marsalis, Sally Mayes, Liza Minnelli, Omari Tau and for Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton. Phillip is in great demand as a gospel musician. He has participated in choir workshops with the late Glenn Burleigh, composer of “Order my Steps” and internationally renowned soprano Barbara Tucker. Mr. Hall provided piano accompaniment for a choir assembled to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday in Mthatha, South Africa. This is Phillip’s 13th year on the music staff of the Jones Memorial United Methodist Church in Houston. After teaching for seventeen years, he was recently named assistant director of jazz education for Divas World, a Houston-based performing arts organization. Phillip thanks God for family, friends, and wonderful opportunities!
John Lee Beatty
Mr. Beatty designed the original Ain’t Misbehavin’ on Broadway where he has designed 95 productions including Good People, Driving Miss Daisy, Time Stands Still, Born Yesterday, Rabbit Hole, Doubt, The Color Purple, Proof, Chicago, A Delicate Balance, The Heiress, The Sisters Rosensweig, Last Night of Ballyhoo, Burn This, Crimes of the Heart, Talley’s Folly, Fifth of July, as well as the upcoming Venus in Fur and Other Desert Cities. Off Broadway work includes The Whipping Man, Sylvia, Substance of Fire, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, A Life in the Theater, as well as numerous seasons at Manhattan Theater Club, City Center Encores, Circle Repertory Co. Awards include the Tony, Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk. A graduate of Brown University and Yale School of Drama.
Design credits include My Fair Lady starring Kelsey Grammar at The New York Philharmonic, Wonderful Town at New York City Opera and an Emmy nomination for NBC’s Another World. Film work: Mermaids, starring Cher and The Boy in the Bathtub. The bulk of her resume has been represented regionally by multiple productions for Papermill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera, North Shore Music Theatre, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, The Boston Ballet and Westchester Broadway Theatre. Off-Broadway shows include Tall Grass, Home of the Brave, Cinderella, The Subject was Roses, Jolson & Co., A Majority of One, I Can Get It For You Wholesale, Rags, Milk and Honey, The Yiddish Trojan Woman, The Sphinx Winx and Shabbatai. A Chicago native, Gail has been fortunate to design tours in Taiwan, Singapore, Portugal, Columbia and Switzerland. Other favorite projects include the Rockettes Christmas Show, Disney on Ice and The Ringling Bros. Circus. Gail collaborated on the 30th Anniversary tour of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and is sending out a European tour this fall.
New York (Broadway, Off-Broadway): Good People, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Sight Unseen, Doubt, Proof, A Moon For The Misbegotten, Once Upon A Mattress, An American Daughter, The Heidi Chronicles, A Delicate Balance, The Sisters Rosensweig, I’m Not Rappaport, Execution Of Justice, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Death And The King’s Horseman, A Threepenny Opera, Ten Unknowns and others. Off-Broadway: A Life In the Theater, Rose’s Dilemma, Burn This, Occupant, A Woman In Mind, From Up Here and others. International: London: Theater: Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Illusion, Into The Woods, Dancing On Dangerous Ground, Holy Mothers. Opera: The Ring Cycle, Januffa, La Calisto (Royal Opera House), Rienzi, Mazeppa, Simone Boccanegra, The Plumber’s Gift (English National Opera) and over fifty productions for such Companies as: The Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, The Glyndebourne Festival, The Minnesota Opera, The Florida Grand Opera, Flemish Opera, Netherlands Opera, The Bayerische Staatsopera (Munich), The Paris Opera at the Garnier, most recently Elixer Of Love and Tales Of Hoffmann at Santa Fe Opera, Orfeo, Tancredi at Theater am der Wien and others. Regional Theater: Designed for Hartford Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, McCarter Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Manhattan Theater Club, Lincoln Center, The Mark Taper Forum, The Alley Theater (Houston), Ford’s Theater, The Old Globe Theater, Playmakers, Portland Center Stage and others.
Credits include The Old Masters, Hughie, Shipwrecked… (Long Wharf Theatre), Dinner with Friends (Westport Country Playhouse), Reckless, The Glass Menagerie, Amadeus (CTC), 1001 (Page 73 Productions); The Molly Maguires (Kirby Center); Evil Dead: The Musical, Burleigh Grimes (New World Stages); Twelve Angry Men (Roundabout); Almost Heaven: The Songs of John Denver (Promenade); Guantanamo (Culture Project), Going to St. Ives, Boy, Strictly Academic (Primary Stages); Scattergood, Intrigue with Faye, A Letter from Ethel Kennedy (MCC); Broadway Bash (Encores!). Thanks to family and friends for their continued love and support. Member AEA.
MUNGIOLI THEATRICALS, INC. Currently: Bill T. Jones’ Super Fly the Musical and FELA! (Broadway and National Tour); Francesca Zambello’s Little House on the Prairie, starring Melissa Gilbert (National Tour); Recent tv/film: Nickelodeon; The Entertainer (E!); Broadway/Nat’l Tour: Ragtime, Fosse, Show Boat, Candide, Sunset Boulevard, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Joseph… with Donny Osmond; Off-Broadway: Jewtopia, Evil Dead The Musical; Marko The Prince, Richard Maltby’s Sixties Project; Disney: High School Musical, Lion King, Aladdin, When You Wish; Regionally: Trinity Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville; Cleveland Playhouse; Pittsburgh CLO; North Shore Music Theatre; Casting Director ARNOLD J. MUNGIOLI is a Member of the Casting Society of America, and has been honored with two Artios Awards and the CSA Media Access Award. www.mungiolitheatricals.com