The elegance, style and fabulous music of the Harlem Renaissance will be reborn at Riverwalk Theatre as Ain’t Misbehavin’ takes the stage February 5-8 and 12-15. Hope Rollins directs the musical by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby Jr., which is named for the 1929 Fats Waller song and features many more from the 1920s to the 1940s.
Rollins, whose previous Riverwalk projects include Dreams of My Ancestors, which she also wrote, and Smokey Joe’s Café, said she has always been attracted to the Harlem Renaissance era, a cultural awakening for the African American community in the United States.
“From dance to art to clothing to culture, it was a rich time in history, with Fats Waller being one of the great musicians of the time,” Rollins said.
The cast includes Terence D. Gipson, Marcus Herndon, Angel Taylor, Danielle Embry and Carin McEvoy in leading roles. The choir and dance ensemble includes Jessie Allen, Danielle Embry, Terence Gipson, Marcus Herndon, Rebecca Lane, Carin McEvoy, Angel Taylor, Zakiya Williams
Chantelle Henry, Joshua Moore, Hope Rollins, Tristyn Wright, and William Word, Sr.
Rollins said the set will include a dramatic 1920s-style staircase that will allow singers and dancers to perform on multiple levels. In addition, she’s adding some period choreography to boost the visual elements of the show.
“I wanted to enrich that a little bit,” she said. “There are some wonderful songs and some wonderful blocking that happen on that stair.”
In addition, videography with some period photos and other elements will add another visual element as well as historical context.
Rollins promises it will be well worth a trip to Riverwalk to spend a couple of hours in another era.
“There’s nothing that brings a heart more joy than congregating in a room with great music and laughter,” she said.
Several performances are already sold out to groups, so MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS TODAY (www.RiverwalkTheatre.com or 517-482-5700)