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Ain't Misbehavin'

Aug 17 – Sep 8
Gilliam Stage at Barter Theatre

The Fats Waller Musical Show

Music by Thomas “Fats” Waller

Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz

The joint is jumpin’ with the new Swing beat to the music of the inimitable Thomas “Fats” Waller, who rose to international fame during the Golden Age of the Cotton Club. Ain’t Misbehavin’ evokes the delightful humor and infectious energy of this American original as a versatile cast struts, strums and sings the songs of “Fats” Waller made famous in a career that ranged from uptown clubs to downtown Tin Pan Alley to Hollywood, and concert stages in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The intoxicating music of Fats Waller will delight and energize audiences as well as provide great insight into a vibrant time in American history and music.

Director's Notes

Prior to having the opportunity to direct here at Barter Theatre, I hadn't heard the music from Ain't Misbehavin’ since the late 1980s and had completely forgotten how much I loved it. Certainly my Charleston, South Carolina family is glad the show is finally up on its feet and that for the last three weeks they haven't had to hear me breaking into song. This is definitely the kind of music that will have you humming or singing days from now. Admittedly, listening with my ears from the "hashtag days of today" was a different experience from hearing it the first time, it will still always be one of my favorite musical revues of all time. This music and this musical does a body good!

Thomas "Fats" Waller was a prolific songwriter and an internationally known performer who died entirely too young. At age 39, Fats succumbed to pneumonia after cancelling a tour to return home to New York City to heal. He didn't make it all the way home; he died outside of Kansas City, Missouri, but he left us with an entire body of work that will keep him alive forever. He wrote and/or recorded more than 500 songs in his short lifetime, some of which you will hear in the show. So, Fats Waller and his cronies made quite an impact musically in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. The music was fun, catchy, and kept folks moving. I'm trusting that this performance will do the same for you. So sit back, and let this band and these performers take you back in time!

I'd like to add a special thanks to the entire Barter family and my incredibly talented and generous creative team. Thanks for the love, Y'all. Take care of JP and my babies...

Joy Vandervort-Cobb

Director,Ain’t Misbehavin’

Cast & Credits


Charlaine (Mezzo-Soprano): Kara-Tameika Watkins

Andre (Baritone): Richard E. Waits

Ken (Tenor): Jerrial Young

Nell (Alto): Syreeta S. Banks

Armelia (Soprano): Vanessa A. Jones


Reeds: Gary Robertz

Trumpet: Sloan Hill

Bass: Glenn Diamond

Drums: Jack Foster


Director: Joy R. Vandervort-Cobb

Musical Director: John Bronston

Other Musical Staging: Amanda Aldridge & Ashley Campos

Set Design: Hana Lee

Costume Design: Howard Tsvi Kaplan

Lighting Design: Andrew Morehouse

Sound Design: Tony Angelini

Stage Manager: John "JP" Pollard

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