One of the many things that jazz people and theatre people have in common is that they're both always looking for a reason to celebrate something, and since we're in the midst of a nationwide public broadcasting focus on jazz, well why shouldn't the theatre be paying tribute to the jazz greats as well? It's a way of returning the compliment, since jazz has honored so many great show tunes over the years.
So, you'll now find that popular tribute to Fats Waller, Ain't Misbehavin' running at the Nomad Theatre in Boulder. In a series of vignettes involving 3 females and 2 males, Ain't Misbehavin' delivers Waller's greatest hits, including the title song plus "Honeysuckle Rose," "Squeeze Me," "Black and Blue" along with some other period pieces, all backed up by a crisp, bluesy trio.
In addition to being a fine musician, Waller was quite a comedian, and some feeling for this is brought out in the repartee between the musicians and the cast. The setting for the piece is a rent party, where 25 cents in the coffee can at the door will get you a piano player, a place to "cut a rug" and, sometimes, pig feet and gin in the kitchen.
Despite a standing-room-only crowd on opening night and a prior run at the Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton, the production was a little rusty out of the gate, and didn't really get swinging until the second act. Great vocals from Darla Herndon, slick dancing from Vanessa Perry, and some song and dance panache from Dalon Herndon saved the production from mediocrity.
Ain't Misbehavin' runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM through March 3rd at The Nomad Theatre, Boulder. Call 303-443-7510 x 2 for reservations.