Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Video: Interview with André De Shields, Director/Choreographer of Crossroads’ Ain’t Misbehavin’


From October 6-23, Crossroads Theater Co is presenting the Tony Award-winning Ain’t Misbehavin’, a play based on an idea by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., celebrating the music of Thomas “Fats” Waller, with direction and choreography by André De Shields and musical direction by onstage pianist J. Leonard Oxley. Opening night is October 8, 2011.

Johmaalya Adelekan, Rheaume Crenshaw, Tyrone Davis Jr., Zurin Villanueava and Jacob Ming-Trent Photo by Lia Chang

Johmaalya Adelekan, Rheaume Crenshaw, Tyrone Davis Jr., Zurin Villanueava and Jacob Ming-Trent Photo by Lia Chang

Performances for Ain’t Misbehavin’ are at Crossroads Theatre Company, 7 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. Tickets: $40 previews, $65 for opening night including a reception; $50 all others. Purchase online at www.CrossroadsTheatreCompany.org or call 732-545-8100.
Rheaume Crenshaw, Jacob Ming-Trent, Zurin Villanueava, Tyrone Davis Jr. and Johmaalya Adelekan Photo by Lia Chang

Rheaume Crenshaw, Jacob Ming-Trent, Zurin Villanueava, Tyrone Davis Jr. and Johmaalya Adelekan Photo by Lia Chang

The Ain’t Misbehavin’ cast features Tyrone Davis Jr. (André), Zurin Villanueava (Charlaine), Rheaume Crenshaw (Nell), Johmaalya Adelekan (Armelia), and Jacob Ming-Trent (Ken). Backed by a swinging live band, headed by J. Leonard Oxley as musical director and onstage pianist, the five performers will capture the era with such favorite hit songs as “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” “Black and Blue,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “The Joint Is Jumpin’,” “Squeeze Me” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” The design team includes Burke Wilmore (Lighting/set design), Deborah Caney (Costume Design) and Joshua Reid (Sound Design).
Director/Choreographer André De Shields Photo by Lia Chang

Director/Choreographer André De Shields Photo by Lia Chang


A two-time Tony Award nominee, André De Shields, whose prolific career spans more than four decades, was a member of the original company of Ain’t Misbehavin’ which initially opened at the Manhattan Theatre Club’s cabaret in February, 1978. The reception was such that it was developed into a full scale musical which transferred to Broadway, opening in May, 1978 at the Longacre Theatre and instantly made history. In addition to receiving a Drama Desk Award nomination for creating the role of “André” in the original production, De Shields won an Emmy Award for his role in the NBC Television Special production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ which aired nationally in June, 1982. For De Shields, this production also marks his return to Crossroads, where in 1993 he remounted his cabaret sensation, Haarlem Nocturne, and directed Play On! in 1999.
 Zurin Villanueava, Jacob Ming-Trent and  J. Leonard Oxley on the keys. Photo by Lia Chang

Zurin Villanueava , Jacob Ming-Trent and J. Leonard Oxley on the keys. Photo by Lia Chang

The inimitable Thomas “Fats” Waller rose to international fame during the Golden Age of the Cotton Club, honky tonk dives along Lenox Avenue, rent parties, stride piano players and that jumpin’ new beat, Swing. Ain’t Misbehavin’, evokes the delightful humor and infectious energy of this American original as a versatile cast struts, strums and sings the songs he made famous in a career that ranged from uptown clubs to downtown Tin Pan Alley to Hollywood and concert stages in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Rheaume Crenshaw, Tyrone Davis Jr. and Johmaalya Adelekan Photo by Lia Chang

Rheaume Crenshaw, Tyrone Davis Jr. and Johmaalya Adelekan Photo by Lia Chang

Founded in 1978 by Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson, Crossroads Theatre Company embraces the vision that African-American theater is intended for a broad-based, diverse audience. As a major force in the development of new ideas and the introduction of formerly marginalized writers, Crossroads produces works that enrich and diversify the representation of African American culture on the American stage. Crossroads has produced more than 40 world premieres and received the Tony Award® in 1999 for Outstanding Regional Theatre in the United States.
”André

André De Shields, Johmaalya Adelekan, Jacob Ming-Trent, Zurin Villanueava, Tyrone Davis Jr. and Rheaume Crenshaw Photo by Lia Chang


Ain’t Misbehavin’ Performance Schedule
Thursday, October 6 8pm
Friday, October 7 8pm
Saturday, October 8, 8pm
Sunday, October 9, 3pm
Wednesday, October 12, 8pm
Thursday, October 13, 8pm
Friday, October 14, 8pm
Saturday, October 15, 3pm, 8pm
Sunday, October 16, 3pm
Wednesday, October 19, 10am
Thursday, October 20, 8pm
Friday, October 21, 8pm
Saturday, October 22, 3pm and 8pm
Sunday, October 23, 3pm
Zurin Villanueava, Tyrone Davis Jr and Jacob Ming-Trent Photo by Lia Chang

Zurin Villanueava, Tyrone Davis Jr and Jacob Ming-Trent Photo by Lia Chang


Rheaume Crenshaw, Jacob Ming-Trent, Zurin Villanueava, Tyrone Davis Jr. and Johmaalya Adelekan Photo by Lia Chang

Rheaume Crenshaw, Jacob Ming-Trent, Zurin Villanueava, Tyrone Davis Jr. and Johmaalya Adelekan Photo by Lia Chang

Ain’t Misbehavin’ Articles
Photos and Video: André De Shields Rehearses “Ain’t Misbehavin’” w/ Crossroads’ Ain’t Misbehavin’ Cast
Photos and Video: André De Shields Rehearses “The Joint is Jumpin’” with the cast of Crossroads’ Ain’t Misbehavin’
Video: André De Shields Rehearses “’T Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness” w/ Crossroads’ Ain’t Misbehavin’ Cast
broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash Crossroads Theatre Company’s Ain’t Misbehavin’ Begins Rehearsals
playbill.com: Crossroads’ Ain’t Misbehavin Casting Announced, Jacob Ming-Trent Among Fivesome
Tyrone Davis Jr., Zurin Villanueava, Rheaume Crenshaw, Johmaalya Adelekan and Jacob Ming-Trent Star in Crossroads Theatre Company’s Ain’t Misbehavin’, Helmed by Two-time Tony Award Nominee André De Shields
Theatermania: PHOTO FLASH: Andre De Shields and Cast of Ain’t Misbehavin’in Rehearsal

Click here for more articles on André De Shields and here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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