‘Ain’t Misbehavin’: LCLT opens Fats Waller musical today at Southlake Theater

Published 11:23 am Friday, June 21, 2024

It’s finally here, the theater performance the public has been savin’ all its love for. The Lake Charles Little Theater’s production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” opens Friday, June 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Southlake Theater. Adley Cormier is directing. It’s not his first rodeo. He directed the LCLT production of the Fats Waller musical in the ‘90s. This one he says, is different, differences that add up to make it “spectacular and soul-healing,” “a force for good.”    

Even after living with it through auditions, casting, reading and dress rehearsals, he said scenes still have the power to “take his breath away.”

“For one thing, we have an all African American cast, and it’s all women,” Cormier said, “crackerjack singers all in their own right with credits to show for it. One has performed in California and Japan.”

Email newsletter signup

The location is new, the Southlake Theater, 4720 Nelson Road, Suite 110 in Lake Charles.

“The lighting, sound and graphics are wonderful,” he said.

The six-piece band is composed of all local musicians who will interact with audience and cast while performing the sounds of jazz, swing, blues and the Tin Pan Alley of the late 19th and early 20th century.

“It’s just a beautiful night club sort of atmosphere,” he said.

The show is a reminder of the struggle of talented Black artists to receive the same remuneration for their music on Tin Pan Alley as white artists, perfect for the weekend following Juneteenth, which is the commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. after the civil war.

“Another difference between this show and the one I directed in 1992 is that I am a whole lot older and we are all dealing with a different world nowadays,” Cormier said, “all the zip, bing, bang, boom of today’s technology.”

Cormier said he thought the band’s director, Jason Liles, had a nervous tick because of all the blinking he was doing. That’s before he found out that Liles has the entire score on his Ipad and his blinks advance the pages.

This show will even feature dancers, Bayou Ballroom’s Rody Broussard, owner/instructor, and dancer Marilyn Boudreaux doing the jitterbug and a waltz number.

“This upbeat show showcases and glorifies women performers and the rich tapestry of  African American entertainment, an authentic Southwest Louisiana experience created, designed and crafted by local talent for our Lake Charles audience,” an audience that’s gone through COVID, hurricanes, ice storms, floods, wildfires and most recently, tornadoes.

The Fats Waller story is a story of how you can create art under the most difficult of circumstances, and it is those circumstances that set it apart.

In addition to June 21, see shows Saturday, June 22, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The closing matinee is Sunday, June 23, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25. Seniors and students pay less. Buy online or at the door. Early online purchases are best to avoid showing up at a sold-out show.