AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ – Yoshi’s SF presents Tony Award-winning Broadway musical

Music by Fats Waller, Ain’t Misbehavin’ plays four performances, this Friday through Sunday

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Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a stompin’, struttin’, high hattin’ smash. The show, which made Broadway history by winning every Tony Award including best musical, has a first act that will knock your ears off and a second act that will come back for the rest of you. Ain’t Misbehavin’ encompasses 30 show stopping musical numbers that take you on a journey through the Fats Waller Songbook and Harlem in its heyday. With snazzy period costumes complete with bowlers and spats and ermine and pearls the dynamic five member cast will turn the room into a rollicking rent party. Showtimes are Friday, 1/7, at 8:00 pm; Saturday, 1/8, at 8:00 & 10:00 pm; Sunday, 1/9 at 7:00 pm.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’

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FATS WALLER

Ain’t Misbehavin’, a musical revue, began its life as a book written by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., music by Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller, and lyrics by various writers. It is named after the song by Fats Waller, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”

It serves as a tribute to the black musicians of the 1920s and ’30s who were part of the Harlem Renaissance, an era of growing creativity, cultural awareness, and ethnic pride, and takes its title from the 1929 Waller song “Ain’t Misbehavin’”. It was a time when Manhattan nightclubs like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom were the playgrounds of high society and Lenox Avenue dives were filled with piano players banging out the new beat known as swing. Five performers present an evening of rowdy, raunchy, and humorous songs that encapsulate the various moods of the era and reflect Waller’s view of life as a journey meant for pleasure and play.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ opened on February 8, 1978 in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s East 73rd Street cabaret with featured singer Irene Cara. Its reception was such that it was decided to develop it into a full-scale production. After fourteen previews, the Broadway production, directed by Maltby with musical staging and choreography by Arthur Faria, opened on May 9, 1978 at the Longacre Theatre, later moving to the Plymouth and then the Belasco before finally completing its 1604-performance run on February 21, 1982. The original cast featured Nell Carter, André DeShields, Armelia McQueen, Ken Page, and Charlayne Woodard. Luther Henderson adapted Waller’s music for the revue and served as the production’s original pianist. Replacements later in the run included Debbie Allen, Yvette Freeman, Adriane Lenox, and Alan Weeks. An original cast recording was released by RCA Victor.

Click on photo to order CD on-line:
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Original Broadway Cast: featuring Nell Carter, Armelia McQueen, Ken Page, André De Shields, Charlaine Woodward

MEET THE CAST:
A. Curtis Farrow – Mr. Farrow is a talent whose directing credits span the US and abroad. He has won two Emmy Awards for his productions of McDonald’s Gospelfest which he has produced and directed for the past 11 years. His project The Paul Robeson Gala Voice of the Millennium was presented at Newark’s Prudential Center. The star studded cast included Whitney Houston, James Earl Jones, Lynne Whitfield, Branford Marsalis, Avery Brooks, The Dance Theatre of Harlem and many more. This marks the 14th year of Mr. Farrows production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ which is a perennial favorite across the nation.

Viviane Jett – Vivian made her splash debut onto the Broadway stage in 1980 when she replaced Armelia McQueen in Ain’t Misbehavin’. It was the thrill of a lifetime for the young diva and she learned from the likes of Nell Carter and Debbie Allen what Broadway was all about.

Ron Lucas – Mr. Lucas has been seen as “John” in Miss Saigon, the world premiere production of Bingo Long, a musical version of the movie about the Negro baseball leagues. His other credits include regional productions of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Five Guys Names Moe, The Elegance of Ellington, Hair, Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar in which he starred as “Judas”, and as “Billy Eckstein” in Mr. B. Changed The Key. Ron has been seen in many films, videos and soap operas.

Dawn Marie Driver – A strong soprano that has earned her the designation of being “a soprano section all by herself.” Under the tutelage of Bishop Nathaniel Townsley, jr., Dawn entered the ranks of professional singers and performers and has traveled extensively across the US and abroad. She has collaborated with gospel great Edwin Hawkins, director Dwight R.B. Cook, Broadway and film choreographer Louis Johnson, legendary Woodie King, Carol Woods, Ben Vereen and Ruby Dee to name a few. She is Executive Producer and co-writer of three on-stage musicals.

Famecia Ward was a Kennedy Center Theatre Festival Nominee for her role as ”Timoune” in Once on this Island. Her other roles include “Kate” in The Wild Party; “Aida” in Rocky Hill, CT; and “Timarete” in Lysistrata at Central Connecticut State University. In 2004 Famecia made it to the second round on American Idol. She has also been seen as “Dorothy” in The Wiz and in various roles in McDonald’s Salutes the Faces of Black History. In 2005 she began performing with the Irving Street Repertory Theatre, in such productions as Smokey Joe’s Café and Your Arms Too Short to Box with God!

Click on photo to order CD on-line:
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Featuring Ruben Studdard, Frenchie Davis, Trenyce Cobbins, Patrice Covington, David Jennings

Click here to purchase tickets on-line: AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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