Nell Carter, star of "Ain't Misbehavin'," the musical revue that opened this past week at the Mechanic Theater here, got her start in "Hair" 20 years ago on Broadway. That was the musical in which flower children sang about air pollution as they smoked pot on stage. Did Carter see the irony in that?
"Oh, I'm not getting into anyone else's drugs," she said.She would, however, go into her own addiction, but not without discomfort. Asked if drugs were out of her life now, she said, "Drugs will never be completely out of my life."
She said she got involved 10 years ago. "I thought I was having a good time, but I was not," she said. "I'm afraid of coke. I think it is important for parents who have used it to tell their children they did. I say I did, and it almost killed me."
Carter, who did six years on "Gimme A Break," the TV comedy series, says she is not ashamed to talk about her addiction. "No, it isn't difficult to talk about it," she said. "There is nothing degrading about it. It's a release to talk about it. I spent all those years on drugs because no one cared enough to say anything to me. I would rather you know that I did drugs and am now off them."
"Ain't Misbehavin' " is a revival. It was first done on Broadway 10 years ago. The new production will play here and in Washington and then head for New York where it will run "as long as people want to see it," Carter said.
"Ain't Misbehavin' " is comprised of Fats Waller-related songs. "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter" is included.
All the original songs are in the new production, Carter said. "They didn't take any away. In fact, they have added two."