by Lorie Lewis Ham
If you’re a fan of the music of Fats Waller, you won’t want to miss Ain’t Misbehavin’ on stage at the Reedley Opera House for two more weekends. We went this past weekend and were treated to a fun evening of wonderful music.
“Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a musical review based around the music of Fats Waller,” shared show director Erik Valencia. “The show takes you back in time to the height of the historic Harlem Renaissance, when venues like The Cotton Club were jumpin’ to a new beat called swing.”
This is only Erik’s second time directing, but he was excited to take on the task when asked by Reedley River City Artistic Director Mark Norwood. “This experience was definitely much different from my first. When I directed Forever Plaid, I had the challenge of being the director and a performer at the same time. For this show, I was able to just focus on the directing aspect, which was nice. I did have to do a lot of research in a small amount of time to get a feel for what this show was about. I decided that this show was basically a celebration of music and about taking the audience back to another era. The Reedley Opera House is truly the perfect venue for this show since it already has an intimate old fashioned night club feel to it.”
Typically, I’m not a big fan of review shows, but the cast did such a fun job with this one I had a great time. The songs were catchy and many, such as “The Joint Is Jumpin'” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” were very familiar and I nearly found myself singing along. The added bits of comedy were nice too. Jeff Lusk’s rendition of “Your Feet’s Too Big” was hilarious. Other River City regulars included Teresa Gipson and Alina Myers, whom you can always count on for great singing, and the adorable Jessica Williams who was in Godspell earlier this year. River City newcomers were Christian David, Tidy Gill, Levetta Wheeler-Hall, and Lamont Walker. They all did a good job but I especially enjoyed LaMont’s singing and stage charm, and Levetta blew me out of the water with that voice!“Hands down, the most fun part of this show is the music,” said Erik. “The music is infectious, so I think audiences will find it easy to connect with this show. People will definitely be tappin’ their toes and dancin’ in their seats.”
I would also like to send a shout out to costumer Tommie Hill and hair stylist Lillie Valencia who were instrumental in helping to create the atmosphere of the time period.
Remaining performances are October 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14. Learn more on their KRL event page.