Twelve students from McDonogh 35 College Preparatory High School in New Orleans, their director, and a supporting cast of student musicians, singers, and dancers from conservatories and colleges of Paris and the Parisian suburbs gave a spectacular performance of Ain’t Misbehavin’ last weekend at the Banlieues Bleues festival in La Courneuve, a commune in the administrative département of Seine-Saint-Denis. Xavier Lemettre, director of the festival, wanted the musical—the first performed in Banlieues Bleues’ 27 years of existence—to inject new, artistic energy into the multi-week celebration. Based on what I saw at the performance, he greatly succeeded!
Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a tribute to song writer, musician, and composer Fats Waller and other musicians of the Harlem Renaissance. The show’s director, Troy Poplous, has extensive experience in directing stage plays and musical productions, including Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun, as well as the musical version of this play. Among his current activities, he teaches Theatre Arts and Fine Arts at the McDonogh 35 High School. Funding for the American students’ trip to Paris was provided by the Consulate General of France of New Orleans.