Clarence Brown Theatre Opens Season With “Ain’t Misbehavin'”

 

The cast of CBT's "Ain't Misbehavin'"

 

The Clarence Brown Theatre joint will be jumpin’ with the season opener Ain’t Misbehavin’, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5 on the mainstage.

A tribute to the black musicians of the early 1900s, Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a vibrant musical revue and features music from Thomas "Fats" Waller, one of the most prolific musicians of the era.

Bold, bright, and told with the cheeky humor for which Fats Waller was known, this Tony Award winning musical has become a theatre classic.

Five performers present an evening of rowdy and humorous songs that encapsulate the various moods of the era.

This production is appropriate for all ages.

Director Ron Himes is the Founder and Producing Director of the Saint Louis Black Repertory Company and the Henry E. Hampton, Jr. Artist-in-Residence at Washington University. The Black Rep has developed a national reputation for staging quality productions from an African-American perspective.

Himes founded the company in 1976 while still a student at Washington University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The Black Rep began touring to other college campuses and, in 1981, found a home in the former sanctuary of the Greely Presbyterian Church in north St. Louis City, which the company converted and renamed the 23rd Street Theatre.

The cast for this production will consist of five professional actors.

Drummond "Drum" Crenshaw received his formal training at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A veteran of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company stage, he has regional, Broadway and international credits, including "the Lion" in The Wiz, for which he received the Woody King Award for best performance in a musical.

Ashlei Dabney earned her BFA from Howard University. She has appeared in several productions, including Godspell, Breath Boom, Into the Woods, Eyes, Abbysinia, and most recently Little Shop of Horrors.

Tracey Copeland Halter is a member of the UT Theatre Department faculty and the Clarence Brown Theatre Company. She has performed both on Broadway and on stages across the country.

Gary E. Vincent’s national tour and stage credits include Dreamgirls, Guys & Dolls, Once on This Island, Sophisticated Ladies, Pippin, Godspell and The Great Men of Gospel.

Willena Vaughn has performed on stages around the world in productions such as Dreamgirls, Crossin’ Over, Cotton Club, A House Divided, and Meeting at the Elder’s Circle.

Musical director Charles Creath also is an arranger, keyboardist, producer, and songwriter. Educated at Yale and Webster College, he has worked with Motown and Capitol, and has produced commercial jingles for Daimler-Chrysler and Coco-Cola. He has been musical director for local and national touring productions including Ain’t Misbehavin’, Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope, Dreamgirls, and more. The band will consist of Doug Rinaldo on saxophone, Jay Miller on percussion, Scott Pederson on trumpet, and Dave Peeples on bass.

Designers for the production include: Morgan Matens, scenic design; Bill Black, costume design; Catherine Girardi, lighting design; Mike Ponder, sound design; and Casey Sams, choreography.

The preview for Ain’t Misbehavin’ is Thursday, Sept. 4, followed by opening night Friday, Sept. 5. The show runs through Sunday, Sept. 21.

For tickets, call the Clarence Brown Theatre box office at 974-5161 or visit www.clarencebrowntheatre.com.