Behind the Curtain

Official Blog of International City Theatre

Fats Waller – The Perfect Topic for ICT’s Upcoming Musical

September 28th, 2012

Sometimes you hear a name and you automatically think of something associated with it. Stephen Spielberg and film directing. Michael Jordan and basketball. Andrew Lloyd Webber and musicals. When you hear the name “Fats” Waller, there is one word with which to associate it – jazz! Thomas “Fats” Waller was an acclaimed jazz pianist, vocalist and composer during the Harlem Renaissance. His music and personality were so cool and hip that a Broadway musical revue was created in 1978, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical. Ain’t Misbehavin’ opens October 9 in previews and is the final production of International City Theatre’s 2012 season.

Photo Credit: Pure Music

With a hugely successful career in the States and abroad, Waller is credited with writing over 400 recorded songs. Some of them have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Famous for his live performances that were highlighted by clever quips and comments, he performed on one of the first BBC broadcasts.

His talents were in such demand that he was kidnapped outside a venue in Chicago in 1926 to be the musical guest at Al Capone’s birthday party. He played for three straight days and then they let him go.

The Harlem Renaissance of the 1930s was one of the most astonishing explosions of musical creativity in modern American history, and “Fats” Waller was king. Ain’t Misbehavin’ features 25 unforgettable, finger-snapping, song-and-dance numbers – from “Your Feet’s Too Big” to “Honeysuckle Rose.”

Waller passed away from pneumonia at the age of 39. A musical prodigy lost at such a young age, Waller’s legacy lives on in Ain’t Misbehavin’, a fitting tribute that is a sizzling celebration of swing music and the Golden Age of Jazz.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ runs October 9 – November 4. To purchase tickets, call 562-436-4610 or visit

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