About Ain't Misbehavin'

Directors Notes - Michelle Bruno

“Ain’t” holds a special piece of my heart.  As an African-American performer in musical theater, there are few roles that are explicitly written for Black performers. In addition, it’s a beautifully composed and scored show. On a personal level, to me, the show is a brilliant arrangement of a wide array of styles and meaning. From the silly Fat and Greasy, to the poignant Black and Blue, the show takes you on an emotional ride.

Black and Blue is the heart and soul of “Ain’t.”  It tells the story of what it means to be marginalized and othered as an African American.  The show premiered in 1978 on Broadway, but the message is still very relevant today. During rehearsals, I asked the cast what the song meant to them.  Everyone had a different answer, but were similar in one aspect; the obvious pain associated.  It reminded me of the fact that we all process differently as individuals, but find commonality in that we all want to be respected, honored, and heard. 

One typically does not ascribe political meaning or this sort of gravitas to what are considered “Juke-Box” musicals, but the brilliance of “Ain’t” is that it makes you think without you realizing it.   

As we started the process, I knew it was going to be wonderful. The performers are all professional and brought a nuanced approach to the roles. It was a delight bringing “Ain’t” to life with this group of people, and during this tumultuous time. And quite honestly, I think the entire cast/crew needed this experience.

I hope that as you watch, you are transported, that you are inspired, and more importantly, find joy in the experience.

Original Show Information

Assembled under the expert eye of director/lyricist, Richard Maltby, Jr., Ain't Misbehavin' is one of the most popular, well-crafted revues of all time and winner of the 1978 Tony Award for Best Musical.

The inimitable Thomas "Fats" Waller rose to international fame during the Golden Age of the Cotton Club and that jumpin' new beat, swing music. Although not quite a biography, Ain't Misbehavin' evokes the delightful humor and infectious energy of this American original as a versatile cast struts, strums and sings the songs that he made famous in a career that ranged from uptown clubs to downtown Tin Pan Alley to Hollywood and concert stages in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Featuring five triple-threat actors and a unit set, Ain't Misbehavin' provides the perfect opportunity to deliver a smash hit while minimizing resources. The intoxicating music of Fats Waller will delight and energize audiences as well as provide great insight into a vibrant time in American history and music.

Ain't Misbehavin' is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com.

Artistic Synergy of Baltimore

Artistic Synergy of Baltimore (ASoB) is a 501(c) community theater, founded in 2012 as a company of local performers with a love for theater and a dream of building a space where seasoned performers could work with and teach new performers, where different genres of performance could be explored, and where new performers could practice and hone their craft.

We aim to produce quality theatrical entertainment, throughout the year, featuring performers of all ages, races, backgrounds, and performance and/or technical experiences. We strive to achieve this by choosing plays and musicals that interest a wide variety of the Baltimore theater community and we sincerely hope you enjoy our performances.