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'American Idol' champ headlines 'Ain't Misbehavin''

Nov. 12, 2008

KALAMAZOO--"American Idol" champion Ruben Studdard headlines the 30th anniversary tour of "Ain't Misbehavin'" at Western Michigan University's Miller Auditorium. Shows begin at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.

Dubbed the Velvet Teddy Bear by legendary R&B soulstress Gladys Knight, Studdard shot to fame in 2003 after winning the "American Idol" talent competition. The Grammy-nominated star will be joined on stage by two other "Idol" alums: 2003 contestant and star of Broadway's "Rent," Frenchie Davis, and 2003 top-five finalist Trenyce Cobbins. Together with a first-class cast and on-stage band, this powerful trio will bring to life classic pop hits like "Honeysuckle Rose," "This Joint is Jumpin'," "Your Feet's Too Big," and the title song "Ain't Misbehavin'."

Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller, the musical soul of 1930s Harlem, lives on in this Tony Award-winning musical. With a book by Murray Horowitz and Richard Maltby Jr., and music by Fats Waller and Luther Henderson, it is considered by critics to be one of Broadway's most well crafted musical revues. Legendary Broadway director and writer Maltby Jr. and original scenic designer John Lee Beatty return to the production for its special 30th anniversary celebration.

"Ain't Misbehavin'" originally opened in the Manhattan Theatre Club's East 73rd Street Cabaret in February 1978 with featured singer Irene Cara. The show was an instant hit among theatergoers, and was quickly developed into a full-scale Broadway production. After 14 previews, the production opened in May of the same year at the Longacre Theatre, later moving to the Plymouth Theatre and then to the Belasco Theatre, before finally completing its 1,604-performance run. The show launched the career of the late Nell Carter, and won the 1978 Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Performance by a Featured Actress. In 1988, "Ain't Misbehavin'" was revived on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre, with Carter as an above-the-title star. The original Broadway cast recording was released by RCA Victor and is still available in stores nationwide.

Tickets for the 30th anniversary tour of "Ain't Misbehavin'" at Miller Auditorium are on sale now and range from $25 to $50. They are available by calling (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858, online at millerauditorium.com, or by visiting the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office or Epic Center Box Office in downtown Kalamazoo. Groups of 20 or more should call (269) 387-2312 for special discounts.

Media contact: Tracey Lawie (269) 387-2309, tracey.lawie@wmich.edu

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