The Story
Ain't Misbehavin'
Music and Lyrics mostly by
THOMAS "FATS" WALLER

Based on an idea by
RICHARD MALTBY, JR. & MURRAY HORWITZ
The outrageously prodigious comic and musical soul of 1930s Harlem lives on in this rollicking, swinging, finger-snapping musical revue. The inimitable Thomas "Fats" Waller rose to international fame during the Golden Age of the Cotton Club, honky tonk dives along Lenox Avenue, rent parties, stride piano players and that jumpin' new beat, Swing. Although not quite a biography, this show evokes the delightful humor and infectious energy of this American original as a versatile cast struts, strums and sings the songs he made famous in his career.

PHOTOS
1978 Original Broadway Production
Artworks/ Posters

VIDEOS
Nell Carter and the rest of the original 1978 Broadway cast in a performance at the Tony Awards.

MUSIC
Your Feet's Too Big
Ken Page
Original Broadway Cast Recording

THE STORY

"Hi there fellas! What you say? This is little Fats Waller, my mother's two hundred and eighty-five pounds of jam, jive and everything." These words crackle out of an old recording, inviting us into the sometimes zany, sometimes sexy, always jazzy world of Thomas "Fats" Waller. The piano that comes out of the recording is joined first by a live piano, then by a band, and finally by five people?Armelia, Nell, Andre, Ken and Charlaine--dressed up to the nines in classic Harlem Renaissance style singing "Ain't Misbehavin'." It is a kind of paean to fidelity, yet the group then tells us it can be difficult waiting for love ("Lookin' Good, But Feelin' Bad").

What sort of world is this world of Fats Waller? It's a world where, if I want to jump in the ocean, "'T Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do." It's a world where, as Nell and Ken tell us, love is as sweet as a "Honeysuckle Rose," and Armelia lovingly coos to her ?daddy' ("Squeeze Me"). Most of all, it's a world of music and the wonder of stride piano, as the cast sings the praises of a "Handful Of Keys."

Nell may stand and croon demurely that "I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling," but in this place, love means dancing, whether it's hot ("How Ya Baby") or sweet ("Jitterbug Waltz").

Fats Waller comes from a time of big bands. Ken and Andre tell us about the women who not only looked great but sounded great as well ("Ladies Who Sing With The Band"). The women each take a turn with some wartime themed songs ("Yacht Club," "When The Nylons Bloom Again," "Cash For Your Trash") and all three get us moving again with an infectious dance ("Off-Time"). The act ends with the entire cast keeping the mood high and swinging with "The Joint Is Jumpin'."

The party continues into the second act as the cast celebrates all over the five boroughs of New York ("Spreadin' Rhythm Around"). Ken and the gals spread it downtown in counterpoint ("Loungin' At The Waldorf") and Andre spreads it uptown at a Harlem rent party ("The Viper's Drag/The Reefer Song").

Parties end and love sours. Nell questions her lover in "Mean To Me" and Ken is downright cruel (in a humorous way) to his girlfriend when he tells her "Your Feet's Too Big." Andre and Armelia accuse each other of cheating ("That Ain't Right") while Charlaine stays true to her man ("Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now"). Nell and Armelia have a bit of fun when they compare notes about men and give Charlaine some advice ("Find Out What They Like"). Andre and Ken then tease a man?perhaps Mr. Fats Waller himself?for being "Fat And Greasy." But underneath the all joking, dancing, partying and romancing, heartache still lingers ("Black And Blue").

The finale brings us back up and snapping our fingers with a dazzling medley of Fats Waller hits ("I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter," "Two Sleepy People," "I've Got My Fingers Crossed," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "It's A Sin To Tell A Lie"). The cast "introduces" us to Fats' old band, performing vocal impersonations of the instrumental solos. The group continues to remind us that they "Ain't Misbehavin'," but?"one never knows, do one?"

LIBRETTO

The book and/or lyrics is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement intended.

Ain't Misbehavin' lyrics
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CAST & CREATIVES
Creative
Producer EMANUEL AZENBERG, DASHA EPSTEIN, THE SHUBERT ORGANIZATION, JANE GAYNOR & RON DANTE
Originally Produced by MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB
Direction RICHARD MALTBY, JR.
Choreography ARTHUR FARIA
Scenic Design JOHN LEE BEATTY
Costume Design RANDY BARCELO
Lighting Design PAT COLLINS
Sound Design OTTS MUNDERLOH
Cast
Performer NELL CARTER
Performer ANDRE DE SHIELDS
Performer ARMELIA MCQUEEN
Performer KEN PAGE
Performer CHARLAINE WOODARD
MUSICAL NUMBERS
THE SONGS

Ain't Misbehavin'Company
Lookin' Good But Feelin' BadCompany
Ain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I DoAndre and Company
Honeysuckle RoseKen and Nell
Squeeze MeArmelia
Handful of KeysCompany
I've Got a Feeling I'm FallingNell and Company
How Ya BabyAndre and Company
The Jitterbug WaltzCompany
The Ladies Who Sing With The BandAndre and Ken
Yacht Club SwingCharlaine
When The Nylons Bloom AgainAmelia
Cash For Your TrashNell and Company
Off-TimeCompany
The Joint Is Jumpin'Company
Spreadin' Rhythm AroundCompany
Lounging At The WaldorfNell and Ken
The Viper's DragAndre and All
Mean To MeNell
Your Feet's Too BigKen
That Ain't RightAndre and Armelia
Keepin' Out Of Mischief NowCharlaine
Find Out What They LikeArmelia and Nell
Fat And GreasyKen and Andre
Black And BlueCompany
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A LetterKen
I've Got My Fingers CrossedCharlaine, Ken and Armelia
Two Sleepy PeopleArmelia and Ken
I Can't Give You Anything But LoveAndre
It's A Sin To Tell A LieNell and Andre

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
Once Upon A Mattress
Rated P for Parenthood
SIGHTS & SOUNDS

1978 Original Broadway Production
Artworks/ Posters

Nell Carter and the rest of the original 1978 Broadway cast in a performance at the Tony Awards.

Your Feet's Too Big Ken Page Original Broadway Cast Recording
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