Well it finally happened. My next hundred benchmark, show #300 has been watched and thoroughly enjoyed. Reedley River City Theatre entered their final weekend of showing their production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and I was able to catch it Saturday night just in time. A fun-filled evening where every voice was splendid, and every Fats Waller song was performed with exuberant energy. I am so happy that this production, a show I had never seen prior to Saturday, was the show I chose. Congratulations to the cast and crew on an enjoyable evening.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a show that is plot-less but filled to the brim with the Fats Waller hits. A cast of 8 talented performers dance, sing, and give tribute to the songs that Waller made popular. What I enjoyed most about Erik Valencia’s direction is that each performer had their time to shine. Whether it was a hilarious rendition of “Your Feet’s Too Big” (Jeff Lusk) or the show-stopping dancing styles of Christian David and Jessica Williams, there was something for everyone to enjoy. There was never a lull in the pacing, even during the ballads. “Black and Blue” was a very tender, powerful ballad that was simple in its staging and effective in its delivery. Plus, the intimacy of the Reedley Opera House stage helped the audience connect with the words and melodies of Waller.
(Cast of Ain’t Misbehavin’; Photo Credit: Erik Valencia, The Reedley Exponent)
Other cast highlights included the comical belting duet of “Find Out What They Like (and How They Like It)” performed brilliantly by Tidy Gill and Alina Myers; Jeff Lusk in “Honeysuckle Rose,” and the whole cast in their finale number of the “Honeysuckle Rose (reprise).” Sheri Cervantes’ choreography was dazzling and a spot-on tribute to the Jitterbug and Swing stylings of the era. I gleamed at Tommy Hill’s period costumes that made the cast pop in every number. Overall, this show was a fun time that made me exhausted just by watching the cast. Each member had something unique to bring, whether it was Lamont Walker and Teresa Gibson’s strong vocals, or Levetta Wheeler’s illuminating presence during her song turns, Reedley hit the mark well in this piece and makes me excited for future shows I will be seeing. Find them on the web and support this wonderful company. Go see a show!