“Ain’ Misbehavin'” is a musical revue named after Thomas “Fats Waller” Wright’s 1929 song “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” This spring’s director, Harry Brice, is bringing the famous revue to Florida A&M.
More than 25 people auditioned for one of the five main roles in the production, which will take place in a “jazz basement joint.”
“It is traditionally done as a revue but I’ve added a story line and expanded the musical,” Brice said.
Brice is not a member of the FAMU’s faculty, but “Ain’ Misbehavin'” is not his first Essential Theatre production. In 2004, Brice directed “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope.”
More than 25 people auditioned for the production on Jan. 18.
“Each audition consists of a monologue, contemporary monologue and sixteen bars of any song. Preferably one that shows you can sing,” said Keith Oliver, a fourth-year performance student from Miami.
“It is important that I bring the dynamics of 1920s and ‘30s jazz to show the students where they came from,” Brice said. “This is a period where we dressed up and looked good and we set the trends in America. I want people who when you look at them you see something special: all shapes and sizes of women, men short or tall.”
The original five characters used their real names, allowing them to make the character their own. Brice is taking the same approach with his rendition.
“We’re not attempting to be those people,” Brice said. “I want them to get to be themselves and go back in time.”
After a 2-3 hour audition of learning choreography and presenting their own pieces, the first round of tryouts were over. The group was dismissed, anticipating a callback if chosen.
Callbacks were Wednesday, Jan. 19. With auditions just wrapping up, the musical premieres this April in the Charles Winter Wood Theatre.