One of the things I’ve missed the most in quarantine is live performance, live music. It’s just not the same over zoom as much as we try to make it so! So it was with great anticipation I made my way to the West Valley Performing Arts Center (former home of Hale Center Theater West Valley) to see their production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. This show is new to me and it was a rollicking good time!
Ain’t Misbehavin’ isn’t really a musical in the traditional sense. It’s billed as a musical revue and is made up of 30 songs from the jazz musician Thomas ”Fats” Waller. Previous to this show I had only heard of a couple of Fats songs particularly ‘I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’ and ‘I Can Give You Anything but Love’. However, part of the fun of an experience like this getting to know and enjoy new songs.
The production at West Valley is small with only 6 actors who are very talented and put their all into the singing and dancing. I particularly enjoyed Krispin Banks as Ken and Daysha as Nell Carter. My favorite part of the evening though was the pianist Mark Johnson who gives a marathon of a performance along with the live jazz orchestra! What a treat!
West Valley has Footloose next on their roster and it probably would have been wise to start their season out with something more accessible and popular (a known IP and all). I went to Ain’t Misbehavin’ opening night and the audience was pretty sparse. Hopefully the word will get around and people will give it a try because it deserves to have an audience.
COVID-wise this was a very safe evening at the theater. They went above and beyond to ensure distancing, masks and even checked my temperature upon arrival. It was much better than what I experienced at Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy. So if you are concerned in that regard this one is the way to go.
8 out of 10
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