Now showing at the Omaha Community Playhouse is “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” a tribute to the music of jazz artist Thomas “Fats” Waller.
The show feels and looks like an explosion of color through its music, costumes, performers and everything in between.
Directed by Kathy Tyree along with Assistant Director Doriette L. Jordan, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” takes the audience back in time to the 1920s and 30s when jazz music was just beginning.
On the stage audience members see a backdrop filled with instruments, a piano, two tables and chairs, suggesting the musical is set inside of a nightclub.
The cast comes out in bright colors of red, orange, blue, yellow, green and grey with everyone swaying to the beat.
The cast includes Jus. B as Ken; Leiloni Brewer as Armelia; Dara Hogan as Charlaine; DJ Tyree as Andre; and Tiffany White-Welchen as Nell.
Hogan has a bubbly personality on stage while White-Welchen and Brewer show more of a sassy side. Tyree feels like the popular guy of the group while B is very more relaxed and is just there to have a good time.
All of the performers harmonize well with each other — whether they are all singing together or even if it’s just two of them. When each performer has a solo, it really sets them apart.
The first and last song performed by the cast is “Ain’t Misbehavin’” — bringing the performance full circle.
Most of the music has an upbeat, adrenaline filled beat like “Handful of Keys” and “Spreadin’ Rhythm Around” which were sung by all performers.
Some songs brought laughter, including “When the Nylons Bloom Again” by Hogan, White-Welchen and Brewer; “Fat and Greasy” by Tyree and B; and “The Viper’s Drag” by Tyree. And some songs slowed down the mood, “Mean to Me” by Welchen and “Squeeze Me” by Brewer.
The performers make it feel as if each musical number — 15 in the first act and 17 in the second — is its own play.
Music Director Jim Boggess captivates the audience with original music by Thomas “Fats” Waller — leaving the audience with jazz music in their soul. It was hard not to tap your feet along with the music and maybe even dance in your seat. I know I was.
This show takes audiences members on a journey and I wouldn’t be surprised if after the show some audience members even looked up where to find jazz swing dance classes.
In 1978, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” won the Tony Award for best musical. This musical revue is two-acts with 15 musical numbers in the first and 17 in the second.
The Omaha Community Playhouse will run “Ain’t Misbehavin’” through June 20, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Ticket prices ranging from $42 to $46.
Find tickets and more information at bit.ly/3wZ0fPV or by calling 403-345-0606.
“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is the final show of the 2020-2021 season. The Omaha Community Playhouse 2021-2022 season is set to begin Aug. 20, with “Dear Jack, Dear Louise.”