Ain’t Misbehavin’ was set in the twenties,during the Harlem Renessiance. The Harlem Renessiance was an intellectual, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York. It was also refered to as the ” New Negro Movement”. It was a time when night clubs such as the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom were filled with audiences coming to hear swing. Ain’t Misbehavin’ depicts these nightclubs with five performers performing songs that reflect Waller’s view of life.
The Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ celebrates jazz and blues music of the 1920s-1930s.The type of jazz mainly represented was the swinging style. The title was chosen from the song “Ain’t Misbehavin'” by Fats Waller, a prominent jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer of the time. Songs in the musical were either composed by or made famous by Fats Waller. The instumentation included the piano, saxophone, drums, bass, clarinet, trumpet, and the trombone. A special shout out was given to the stride piano, also known as the jazz piano, in which the actors explained what a stride piano was and how it was played.
Who's In It?
The musical opened at the Longacre Theatre on May 9, 1978. On June 12, 1982, NBC broadcasted the show with the original cast which included Nell Carter, Andre DeSHields, Armelia McQueen, Ken Page, and Charlayne Woodard. The actors appeared as themselves in the production, there were no character names.
During the twenties, recognition was rarely given to black artist for their contribution to music. The broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ is important because it acknowledges those black artists and brings awareness to the fact that they were present and significant. Ain’t Misbehavin’ acts as a time capsule to keep black music during such a revolutionary period such as the twenties, alive in our hearts and our minds.