Musical Theater: Ain’t Misbehavin’

Ain't Misbehavin'

The three-time Tony award winning musical theater, Ain’t Misbehavin’, opened in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s East 73rd Street cabaret in 1978. This musical pays tribute to the black musicians of the 1920s and 1930s who were apart of the Harlem Renaissance. This era was best known for its growing creativity, cultural awareness, and ethnic pride. The play is centered around the Manhattan nightclubs such as Cotton Club where you can find pianist playing swing music. The six characters present an evening of rowdy, and humorous songs that encapsulate the various moods of the era and reflect on Fats Waller’s view of life as a journey meant for pleasure and play.

Since this musical is based on the Harlem Renaissance era, the genres that are featured throughout this musical are swing, ragtime, and jazz. The instrumentation included two pianos, saxophone, drums, bass, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone.


Act 1

  • Ain’t Misbehavin
  • Lookin’ Good but Feelin’ Bad
  • ‘T Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness
  • Honeysuckle Rose
  • Squeeze Me
  • Handful of Keys
  • I’ve Got a Feeling I’m Falling
  • How Ya Baby
  • Jitterbug Waltz
  • Ladies Who Sing with the Band
  • Yacht Club Swing
  • When the Nylons Bloom Again
  • Cash for Your Trash
  • Off-Time
  • The Joint is Jumpin’

Act 2

  • Spreadin’ Rhythm Around
  • Lounging at the Waldorf
  • The Viper’s Drag
  • Mean to Me
  • Your Feet’s Too Big
  • That Ain’t Right
  • Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now
  • Find Out What They Like
  • Fat and Greasy
  • Black and Blue
  • I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter
  • Two Sleepy People
  • I’ve Got my Fingers Crossed
  • I Can’t Give You Anything but Love
  • It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie
  • Honeysuckle Band


Nell Carter
Andre Deshields
Ken Page
Charlayne Woodard
Irene Cara
Armelia McQueen

Conclusonary Opinion

This musical was very interesting and beautiful to see. This was my first time watching anything about the Harlem Renaissance. I have only read about how wonderful this era was so to actually get an opportunity to visually see what the hype is about was amazing. The cast did a beautiful job with the acting and singing portion of the musical as well. When I read about this era I think about how free and prideful black people were during this time and I feel as though the cast and director of this play successfully executed the Harlem Renaissance vibe. 

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