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Tony-Award Winning Musical Ain€t Misbehavin Opens July 8 at Olney Theatre

Edith Billups | 7/1/2009, 6:44 p.m.

In her Olney Theatre debut in the musical Ain€t Misbehavin, actress Jesaira Glover takes on the role that catapulted actress and singer Nell Carter to fame.

€I am not looking to imitate Nell Carter,€ Glover, 35, said. €The director, Devron Young, is encouraging us to bring our own interpretation.€

The Tony-Award-winning musical about the life of composer, musician and comic Thomas €Fats€ Waller opens at the Olney Theatre July 8 through Aug. 2 and will feature 30 of Waller€s songs.

The play will feature renditions of €Honeysuckle Rose,€ €This Joint is Jumpin,€ €Black and Blue,€ and €Cash for Your Trash.€ For Glover, playing in a musical that takes audience goers back to Harlem€s Golden Age is €an opportunity of a lifetime.€

€Prior to this show, I only knew that Fats Waller was a jazz pianist who was noted for his stride piano style and for his comedic performances. But after digging deeper, what I appreciated was the way that the Harlem Renaissance was evolving during that time,€ Glover said.

€Also, I learned that Waller was not afraid to take risks with his music, and his ability to improvise was remarkable. I was looking at a video of €Honeysuckle Rose,€ and you could see the artistry that he brought to stage.€

Glover has been performing since she was eight-years-old.

Devron Young makes his directorial debut with the production €Ain€t Misbehavin€ premiering at the Olney Theatre in Olney, Md. on Wed., July 8. Courtesy Photo
€In the environment that I grew up, [singing] was not always taken seriously,€ she said.

Glover, who grew up singing in the church, as an adult recognized her profession as a €gift and form of therapy.€

Today, Glover remains active in her church. She is the director of the Johns Hopkins University Gospel Choir in Baltimore.

€It gives me so much fulfillment. I see this as all a part of my vocation.€

Young is making his directorial debut at Olney and hopes the audience will leave with a better understanding of the period.

€With most musical revues, there isn€t a strong story line, but the actors really sing well. The Harlem Renaissance has such a rich history, and the music is timeless,€ Young said.

€When people leave, they will want to know more about the Harlem Renaissance and Fats Waller€s entertainment style. It€s one of those plays where you can come and forget the economy and just be entertained for two hours,€ Young said.

For tickets, visit www.olneytheatre.org.