Jump and jive with the cast of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and enjoy the Harlem stride style music that laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano Oct. 10-12 as part of the Second Stage Series at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.
The sassy, sultry musical celebration takes audiences along a journey with eight performers through the timeless music of legendary jazz great, Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller, with memorable songs such as “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,”” “Black and Blue,” “This Joint is Jumpin’” and “I’ve Got a Feeling I’m Falling.”
The three-time Tony award-winning musical revue, including Best Musical in 1978, will delight and energize audiences as well as have moments of beauty and insight into a vibrant time in American history and music. All at once, a Harlem nightclub, Harlem Street, and a ’30s radio and giant jukebox conjures the world of jazz on stage.
Sponsored Southeast’s Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and produced by The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10-12 and 2 p.m. Oct. 13 in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre. This production contains adult content.
Southeast’s chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists will host a post-show talk back with the cast and director on opening night, Oct. 10, to discuss the political and cultural significance of Fats Waller and jazz music. Chapter President Pat Buck will moderate the Question and Answer discussion to be held in the Rust Theatre immediately following the show.
“‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ centers on the Golden Age of the Cotton Club,” said Dr. Kenn Stilson, chair of The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance. “The music is energizing and infectious, capturing the new beat of swing music found in Tin Pan Alley and clubs all around the world.”
The life of Waller in Harlem in the 30s comes to life under the direction of guest artist, Darryl Kent Clark, assistant professor of musical theater dance at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.
Clark has more than 30 years of experience as a dancer, actor, choreographer, director and teacher. He teaches “Movement for the Actor” and “Musical Theatre Dance I and II.” His research and creative interests are focused on choreography for both musical theater and the concert stage, dance as it is represented in film, the role of the dance educator in musical theater programs, musical theater history and film history.
Clark holds a Master of Fine Arts from the State University of New York College at Brockport and a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College.
He has performed with Princess Cruises, Sesame Street Live!, Zyngara Performance Troupe and Concert Dance, Inc. Additionally, he has had solo performances with the Brockport Community Chorus in Brockport, New York, and the Men’s Chorus of the Ozarks. Recently, he has expanded to direction and staged productions including “The It Girl” and “Nijinsky’s Last Dance.”
“We’re thrilled to have Darryl with us to guest direct ‘Ain’t Misbehavin.’ He’s a talented artist with a wealth of knowledge and experience to really make this show swing,” Stilson said. “The students, faculty, and staff are excited to work with him on this special production.”
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at RiverCampus.org.