Thomas Wright Waller knew how to have a good time — musically speaking and otherwise, apparently — and the Jazz piano melodies he wrote have entertained music lovers since they first came to be in the 1920s and ’30s. “Fats” Waller generated more than 400 tunes before he died in 1943 at the age of 39, and songs like “Honeysuckle Rose,” “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’” have become standards. The latter headlined a collection of his compositions that became a Broadway hit in 1978 and has been popular ever since. The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park had good luck with a production of the show in 1993 that wrapped up the first season assembled by Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern. To mark the Playhouse’s 50th anniversary (not to mention Stern’s 18th season leading the Tony Award winning regional theater), it was only natural to bring it back. But he did more than simply reassemble another production: He had it staged by Arthur Faria, who choreographed the original piece, and they also engaged music director and stride pianist William Foster McDaniel who is the soul of bringing Waller’s music back to life. With five energetic singers, the Playhouse is having a great time with a joint that’s jumpin’ — to use a phrase that Waller coined.
It’s on the Playhouse’s Marx stage through Saturday. $25-$67. Get show details and read Tom McElfresh's review here.