Delaware Theater Spotlight

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ain't Misbehavin' at Delaware Theatre Company

Delaware Theatre Company is closing its 35th season with a bang. Artistic Director Bud Martin put together a really fantastic season this year, and it's fitting that it ends with a show fit for Broadway.

Director and co-creator of Ain't Misbehavin', Richard Maltby, Jr. Photo credit: Matt Urban, Mobius New Media

Ain't Misbehavin' at DTC was directed by the original Braodway director and co-creator Richard Maltby, Jr, and features cast he handpicked and original designs from the original 1978 Tony Award-winning production. Maltby certainly hasn't lost his touch, as Ain't Misbehavin' is a fun musical revue of Thomas "Fats" Waller. It's impossible to sit still during this show, simply because you want to dance on stage with the cast.

Cynthia, Doug, Debra, Eugene, and Kecia. Photo credit: Matt Urban, Mobius New Media

Speaking of the cast, it's clear why Maltby hand-selected these 5 singers. Doug Eskew's and Cynthia Thomas's personas on stage are very reminiscent of vaudeville, especially in Doug's Your Feet's Too Big and Cynthia's Squeeze Me. Debra Walton is the dark horse of Ain't Misbehavin'. For most of the show, Debra is a crucial member of the ensemble cast, but she is overshadowed vocally by Cynthia and Kecia. It isn't until Debra let's it all go in the second act during Keepin' Out of Mischief Now that you see exactly how talented she is. Eugene Fleming is a solid performer who is extremely versatile. Some of Eugene's songs with Doug are the most memorable from Ain't Misbehavin', like The Ladies Who Sing With The Band, and favorite song Fat and Greasy. Eugene's featured song The Viper's Drag, also known as The Reefer Song, nearly steals the entire show. That honor belongs to Kecia Lewis. Kecia is a powerhouse. Any time she opens her mouth, the world seems to stop. She bares her soul on the Delaware Theatre Company stage, and she moved me to tears and goose bumps more than once. I could listen to Kecia sing I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling every single day.

The full ensemble cast of Ain't Misbehavin' Photo credit: Matt Urban, Mobius New Media

If you are expected a show with a plot, Ain't Misbehavin' is not the show for you. It is a concert of music written and performed by Fats Waller, as well as songs written by other artists that he made famous. You do learn a few interesting points about his life, but it's not about the life Fats Waller lived. Ain't Misbehavin' is all about his music. In fact, Richard Maltby's production is so focused on the music that the band and band leader are all characters in this ensemble show.

The Band of Ain't Misbehavin'. Photo credit: Matt Urban, Mobius New Media

Ain't Misbehavin' runs until April 27 at Delaware Theatre Company. For tickets, call 302-594-1100 or visit

Posted at 12:50pm on April 9, 2014 by

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