The whole joint's a jumpin' at the Poteet Theatre. No one's being bad exactly — they just “Ain't Misbehavin'”! While not everyone in the world is necessarily a jazz fan, every soul has to love Fats Waller.
Born in 1904, Thomas “Fats” Waller was organist at his father's church at age 10. By 18, he was a recording artist making the big time. He died of pneumonia in 1943 while touring the country. But in the years between, this symbol of Harlem and inspiration to the civil rights movement created a lot of great music.
In 1978, “Ain't Misbehavin'” became a Broadway sensation and paid tribute to Waller's music. Co-author Murray Horwitz sent a letter to the Poteet Theatre that was printed in the program: “I wish I could be there it see it myself because I have always enjoyed my visits to Oklahoma City ...”.
Eleven band members, including director Fred Hammond III, keep the audience clapping, toe tapping and knee slapping. Director and set designer Jay Prock places the band back and center so the acoustics are pleasant.
Assistant director Pamela Rise and choreographer Sherri Smith bring a great deal of creativity to the production. But the soul of the show is revealed by the cast. The voices of DeVin Lewis and Christopher Jones sail clearly throughout the auditorium.