Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

A Celebration of ‘Fats’


Thom Hofrichter

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 1, 2017

Heads Up! This article is 5 years old.

Thomas “Fats” Waller was one of the most prolific songwriters during the first half of the 20th century. His works included jazz, stride and ragtime. He started out as a church musician, playing piano and organ in the church he grew up in and where his father was the minister.

Although his father encouraged his musicianship inside the walls of the church, he was disappointed when, at an early age, his son started playing bars and clubs. But the floodgates had been opened. By the time Fats was 15 years old, shortly before 1920, he was making a living playing piano and singing in these nightclubs. And for the following 20-plus years, until his premature death five months shy of his 40th birthday, Fats wrote over 400 songs. Ain’t Misbehavin’, a musical revue featuring some of Fats’ most well-loved music, made it’s debut on Broadway in the early 80s, winning Tony awards and great acclaim for the cast of five. It held the stage for nearly five years and brought back to the public’s consciousness the contributions Waller made to popular music.

First Presbyterian Theater is proud to present this wonderful musical featuring some of Fort Wayne’s finest talent. The cast includes Albert T Brownlee, Stefan Phillips, Fatima Washington and Mikki White. It also features choreography and a special dance performance by Latissha Williams. Don’t miss these hot performances of the legendary Fats Waller at FPT.

The play previews Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m. (all seats $12) and continues Fridays and Saturdays, October 28, November 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., with two 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on November 6 and 13. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 for patrons age 65-plus and free for full-time students with reservations. Box office hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and one hour prior to every performance. (We guarantee you can walk up and by a ticket the night of the show.)You can also buy tickets at www.firstpresbyteriantheater.com.

Please note that the Saturday, October 29 date is not an open performance. That night is a sold-out benefit performance for Genesis Outreach Inc., a non-profit that fights homelessness in Fort Wayne. If you are interested in this benefit, you can get tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/home-is-where-the-heart-is-1st-annual-gala-28th-year-celebration-tickets.

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