Show History

History

Inspiration

After Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire mounted their revue Starting Here, Starting Now at the Manhattan Theatre Club, producer Lynne Meadow approached the duo about a new work. Maltby had been working with Murray Horwitz, who was a jazz buff, and suggested they could do a show about Fats Waller. Maltby and Horwitz worked for three months on a biographical musical featuring stunning songs and lively characters, but then tabled the project when they realized they did not have enough material for a second act. Along the way, they told Lynn about the project and it was suggested they take all of their material and remold it into a revue. She offered an empty slot at the Manhattan Theatre Club's cabaret and the show was promptly assembled (in two months).

 

Productions

Ain't Misbehavin'is a musical revue with book by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., and music by Thomas "Fats" Waller and other various composers/lyricists. Ain't Misbehavin' opened in the Manhattan Theatre Club's East 73rd Street cabaret on February 8, 1978. Shortly thereafter, the musical transferred to Broadway on May 9, 1978, and opened at the Longacre Theatre. During its run the musical moved to the Plymouth Theatre and then to the Belasco Theatre. It closed on February 21, 1982 after 1,604 performances. Luther Henderson adapted Waller's music for the revue and served as the production's original pianist. An Original Cast recording was released by RCA Victor.

The West End production of Ain't Misbehavin' opened on March 22, 1979 at Her Majesty's Theatre. It was later revived in London in 1995 at the Tricycle Theatre and then the Lyric Theatre. A London revival cast recording was released by First Night.

 

 

 

Trivia

 

 

  • The Ain't Misbehavin' revival in 1988 featured all five members of the original cast.
  • At 1,604 performances, Ain't Misbehavin' ranks #45 on the list of longest-running Broadway shows.
  • On June 12, 1982, NBC broadcast a live taping of the original Broadway production.
     
  • Ain t Misbehavin launched the career of the irrepressible Nell Carter.
     
  • In 1978, Ain t Misbehavin won the TONY Award for Best Musical the first time in the history of the awards a revue was so honored.