By SAMANTHA PIDDE
Timber Lake Playhouse's “Ain't Misbehavin', The Fats Waller Musical,” is a wonderful musical revue that allows some of the TLP’s resident cast and musicians to truly shine.
The production was conceived by Richard Maltby Jr. and Murray Horwitz and features the music of Thomas "Fats" Waller. The soundtrack includes more than 25 songs that range from lively to sultry to mournful and straight out funny. The production is an appropriate tribute to Waller and his music.
Autumn Key, Ciarra Stroud, Nissi Shalome, Eli Nash and Cory Shorter own the stage and give stellar performances. Each of the TLP performers has their chance to show their talents during the performance.
Whether a long-time fan of jazz or new to the music, audience members will find themselves enraptured by the music. Featuring songs such as the titular "Ain't Misbehavin,'" "Honeysuckle Rose," "The Jitterbug Waltz," "When the Nylons Bloom Again," "Mean to Me," "That Ain't Right," "Find Out What They Like" and many more, Ain't Misbehavin' with have the audience clapping along.
“Ain't Misbehavin'” also serves as a wonderful showcase for TLP's talented music director Michael McBride and its band, featuring McBride on keyboard, Ben Heppner on drums/percussion, Deana Deal on bass, Cathy James on reeds, Jon Rarick on trumpet, and Joe Titus on trombone. Seated upon the TLP stage, the musicians are as much of the production as the singers.
The wonderful jazz music and stellar performances are further enhanced through the creative and hard work of the playhouse's crews. TLP is transformed into a flashy, smokey jazz club. The sharp and glitzy costumes transport the audience back in time.
As always, none of this would be possible without: Director/Choreographer Donterrio Johnson; Technical Director Addison Calvin; Stage Manager Garth Moritz; Set Designer Matt McClure; Costume Designer Damarius Kennedy; Hair/Makeup Designer Corey Cochran; Lighting/Projections Designer Rob Littlefield; Sound Designer Nick Leek; Property Designer Callie Hester.
Those looking for a "jumpin'" night out with great music and great performances, should give “Ain't Misbehavin'” a chance.
The production is showing at TLP through Sunday, Aug. 29. Tickets are available online at timberlakeplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 815-244-2035. The box office is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.