Westport, CT - Westport Country Playhouse has been approved for a $10,000 Grant for Arts Projects Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the musical “Ain’t Misbehavin,” set to take the Playhouse stage during the 2022 Season, co-produced with Barrington Stage. The re-envisioned show will be directed and choreographed by Camille A. Brown, 2019 Tony nominee for Best Choreography for “Choir Boy.” Celebrating the legendary jazz great Fats Waller, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” won the 1978 Tony Award for Best Musical. It is conceived by Richard Maltby Jr. and Murray Horwitz.
The Playhouse’s project is among the more than 1,100 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding.
“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as Westport Country Playhouse reengage fully with partners and audiences,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”
Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse artistic director, stated, "NEA funding is crucial to the work we do at the Playhouse. Our leadership and staff truly missed welcoming live audiences to the Playhouse last year due to the global pandemic. As we gradually return to the stage in 2021, we appreciate this support from the NEA as a testament to the importance of the arts in the United States, especially at it relates to creating community and access for all theater goers.
“I’m so grateful that the NEA is partnering with us in 2022 on a new, dance-filled, re-imagined production of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’,’ as you’ve never seen it before, directed and choreographed by Tony Award-nominee Camille A. Brown,” Lamos added.
The Playhouse’s 2021 Season includes two new virtual productions, “Tiny House,” a timely new comedy, written by Michael Gotch, and directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, playing June 29 through July 18; and “Doubt: A Parable,” the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning drama written by John Patrick Shanley and directed by David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director, playing November 2 through November 21. Two HD video productions from the Playhouse archives will stream on-demand, beginning with the musical, “Man of La Mancha” (2018), from August 23 through September 5, and another TBA, from September 13 - 26. Three Script in Hand playreadings will include “The Savannah Disputation” by Evan Smith, from June 15 - 20, and two others TBA, October 19 – 24, and December 14 – 19. The complete schedule is available at westportplayhouse.org. All play titles, artists, dates, and formats are subject to change. 2021 Season Sponsor is the Eunice and David Bigelow Foundation. 2021 Season Media Sponsors are Moffly Media and WSHU Public Radio.
For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
ABOUT WESTPORT COUNTRY PLAYHOUSE
Founded in 1931, Westport Country Playhouse is celebrating its 90th anniversary year. The mission of Westport Country Playhouse is to enrich, enlighten, and engage the community through the power of professionally produced theater of the highest caliber and the welcoming experience of the Playhouse campus. The not-for-profit Playhouse provides this experience in multiple ways by offering live theater experiences of the highest quality, under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos; educational and community engagement events to further explore the work on stage; the New Works Initiative, a program dedicated to the discovery, development, and production of new live theatrical works; special performances and programs for students and teachers with extensive curriculum support material; Script in Hand play readings to deepen relationships with audiences and artists; the renowned Woodward Internship Program during the summer months for aspiring theater professionals; Family Festivities presentations to delight young and old alike and to promote reading through live theater; youth performance training through Broadway Method Academy, Westport Country Playhouse’s resident conservatory program; and the beautiful and historic Playhouse campus open for enjoyment and community events year-round. Charity Navigator has recently awarded its top 4-star charity rating to the Playhouse in recognition of its strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.
Photo: Westport Country Playhouse, Photo by Kathleen O’Rourke