as the final show of its 1999-2000 season. Five performances are
scheduled at The Alex Friday through Sunday, following a three-week stint
at the theater's home base, the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium.
An intimate review that takes place in a Harlem nightspot, "Ain't
Misbehavin"' has a cast of just five -- two men, three women -- as well
as an onstage combo.
"Actually, The Alex is more intimate than the San Gabriel Auditorium,
so this vocal marathon should do well there," says George Anthony Bell,
who plays Ken, the Fats Waller character in the play. "Without the
orchestra pit, it should project better."
Kye Brackett agrees.
"With only five people, so much counts on how we communicate with each
other," says the actor who plays Andre.
Bell, who has been working as a professional actor and singer for more
than 25 years, has appeared on Broadway and in Los Angeles with the
original company of "Ain't Misbehavin'." He says that this may be his
last time doing the role, though he won't say for sure.
"It's a very demanding show vocally," Bell says, "a real marathon. It
has been 21 years since I first did this show, and it may be time to give
younger actors a crack at the role."
"But it is great doing it here, at home, if that is the case," he
Among his earlier roles, which include the Lion in "The Wiz" and Old
Deuteronomy in the first L.A. run of "Cats," Bell is perhaps proudest of
playing the Evil Wazir in Geoffrey Holder's musical extravaganza,
"It was the Broadway debut of the show," he relates, "and I got to
pretty much create the role from the blueprints. And," he adds proudly,
"I got to work with Eartha Kitt. It was a great learning experience."
Brackett has appeared on Broadway in "Sophisticated Ladies" and in the
Los Angeles companies of "Rent" and "Five Guys Named Moe," for which he
won an NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actor. The award is
presented by the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.
He has also toured as a backup singer for Barry Manilow. He has
written a one-man motivational concert, "Daybreak," about the importance
and power of making choices.
"Accepting responsibility in its own right doesn't have to sound so
hard, but it can be exciting," Brackett says. "It's all about what I want
to do rather than what I have to do. Empowerment is the whole idea."
Both actors agree that working with Music Theatre is a special
"This group is incredible," says Brackett. "They are so supportive I
can hardly believe it."
"They are a top-notch organization," adds Bell, "all up and down the
line. They could be on Broadway. And," he adds, laughing, "they feed you
to death, too!"
IF YOU GO
WHAT: "Ain't Misbehavin'," presented by Music Theatre of Southern
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
WHERE: The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale.
TICKETS: $20.50 to $40.50.
PHONE: (626) 308-2868.