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[VIDEO] Eboni Fondren 'Ain't Misbehavin' At Spinning Tree Theatre

Julie Denesha

In this scene, singer Eboni Fondren performs 'I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling' in Spinning Tree Theatre's production of Ain't Misbehavin' at Just Off Broadway Theatre.

"Ain't Misbehavin is a celebration of the music Fats Waller wrote, performed, and made famous during the 1930s Harlem Renaissance," says co-director Andy Parkhurst.

"The show is a review so any plot points or narrative that the viewer derives comes from the viewer's imagination primarily. There are about 33 songs in the show and each song functions as its own scene. But there are connections that happen throughout the evening as well." 

"It's primarily the music of Fats Waller and so it is revolving around the piano which is what he did best," co-director Michael Grayman says. "So with Ain't Misbehavin when Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz conceived this show that was part of it. So our band, our pianist Angie Benson is an integral part to the piece."

"My biggest challenge is that since I am a jazz musician, I usually work in the role of improvisation," says vocalist and actress Eboni Fondren. She's performed in the Kansas City area for the last decade.

"So when I go back into the musical theater world, knowing the lines and the five-part harmony that we are doing in this particular show takes me a little bit just to get back into the swing of things," she says. "I really like the number that I do with Jennie Greenberry 'Find Out What They Like' because we get to be sassy with each other. And we kind of have a sassy friendship so it's really fun to play that out on stage."

"I play every single song in the show," says pianist Angie Benson, who's also providing musical direction. "Technically I am emulating Fats Waller, the famous pianist and composer. It's stride piano and so, for me, I have very small hands so the jumps are big and jumping from the bass to treble to keep the chords going."

Spinning Tree Theatre presents "Fats" Waller's 'Ain't Misbehavin' Nov. 1-17, 2013 at Just Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Central, Kansas City, Mo. 816-569-5277.

The "In This Scene..." series is supported by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

Julie Denesha is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Kansas City. Contact her at julie@kcur.org.
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