Will Delaware Theatre Company Bring Ain't Misbehavin to Off-Broadway?

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18 Apr 2014

Tony Award-winning director and lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr., who conceived and directed the original Broadway production of Ain't Misbehavin', is considering moving the Delaware Theatre Company production of the musical to an Off-Broadway location in New York, Delaware Online reports.

Maltby would like the show to play a small space that retains its atmosphere of a Harlem club.

In a letter written to cast members, Maltby, according to Delaware Online, said, "This production is probably as close to the original as we are ever going to get. Your performances are true and felt and direct, and free from those comic excesses that crept in over time. The DTC stage with its curved forestage gives you all a chance to connect to the audience in a way that isn't possible in a lot larger theaters, and which I haven't seen happen in a long time."

"I think that [an Off-Broadway production] would be fantastic," Kecia Lewis (Leap of Faith, The Drowsy Chaperone), who is playing the character track originated by Nell Carter, told Delaware Online. Lewis also performed in the 1988 revival of Ain't Misbehavin.

"It's the first of its kind, and it's very unique in terms of the 'jukebox' musical has evolved into," she added. "Something like Ain't is probably closest to the form as it was originally intended, which was to give a picture of someone's personality and historical context to what they contributed musically, as opposed to trying to put together kind of a fake book around someone's songs and not letting the music speak for itself. In that regard, it would be great so see that revival."



Ain't Misbehavin' was based on an idea by Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz. The 1978 Broadway production featured Nell Carter and such "Fats" Waller tunes as "Keeping Out of Mischief Now," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Black and Blue" and the title tune.

Ain't Misbehavin' received three Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Carter) and Best Direction of a Musical (Maltby, Jr.).

Maltby, Jr.'s directing credits include Ring of Fire, Fosse, Song and Dance and Baby. He wrote the lyrics to The Pirate Queen, Big, Nick & Nora and Miss Saigon, among others.

Ain't Misbehavin' continues its run at Delaware Theater Company through April 27. Delaware Theater Company is located at 200 Water St., Wilmington, DE. Visit delawaretheatre.org for more information.