Ain’t Misbehavin’ Does No Wrong at Great Lakes Theater 

Director/Choreographer Gerry McIntyre has done Thomas “Fats” Waller right with his production of “Ain’t Misbehavin” at Great Lakes Theater. This trip back in time in the Hanna Theatre is a smooth and sensual ride into all of the emotions of jazz. 

The Company of “Ain’t Misbehavin'” at Great Lakes Theatre.

Featuring a talented quintet of performers consisting of Tyrick Wiltez Jones, Colleen Longshaw, Brittney Mack, Jessie Cope Miller, and David Robbins, the show is non-stop harmony and frenetic joy. 

Lead by Music Director William Knowles (Fats Waller embodied), the band and company are a perfect blend of fashion, energy, personality and fun.  

The show was originally conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz and consists of lyric-based numbers of the big band jazz era. Opening with the show’s namesake, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” the stellar cast and band cover the likes of “The Joint is Jumpin’,” “Spreadin’ Rhythm Around,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and “Two Sleepy People.” 

The Company of “Ain’t Misbehavin'” at Great Lakes Theatre.

The show’s choreography keeps the actors busily performing through every moment, giving the already-entertaining pieces a spirited and classy edge. The stage is truly filled with personality as Wiltez Jones, Longshaw, Mack, Cope Miller, and Robbins have “it” in spades. Bright and effervescent, each star shines both in the ensemble and on their own. 

Random highlights from the performance include the spirited moves that light up the stage in “This Joint is Jumpin’,” and the surprise giant snake of nylons that appears like a large tube monster in “When the Nylons Bloom Again.” “Your Feet’s Too Big” includes an unsuspecting audience member getting pulled up on to the stage for a call-out of their feet, and “Fat and Greasy” is a few minutes of pure … lyrical oddity?

Wiltez Jones (l) and Mack (r) in “Ain’t Misbehavin'” at Great Lakes Theatre.

The sultry award goes to “The Viper’s Song,” featuring Wiltez Jones in his tantalizing performance that is all smooth and provocative. Mack gets the firecracker award for her power and spunk in… well, everything.

And finally kudos to the band for their constant energetic jive and jubilation. The band – William Knowles on the piano (Music Director), Ray DeForest on the bass, Juan Ingram on the trumpet, Eric Richmond on the trombone, Emillo Rosario on the reeds, and Elijah Gilmore on the drums.

The Company of “Ain’t Misbehavin'” at Great Lakes Theatre.

The beautiful icing on this delicious cake of sumptuous sound and vibrant visuals is the costuming, which is nothing short of dapper and dazzling. The men are sharp in their handsome suits, the ladies are flashy and fantastic in an array of dresses and hats, with (as a random detail) the women’s’ shoes being enviably chic. It’s a feast for both ears and eyes.

If you’re looking for an exciting evening with great music and dynamo performers, Great Lakes Theater’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’” is the musical sunshine you need during this gray May in Cleveland.  

$15-$80 tickets are available at  

Cope Miller (l) and Longshaw (r) in “Ain’t Misbehavin'” at Great Lakes Theatre.

Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz 
Created and Originally Directed by Richard Maltby Jr. 
Original Choreography and Musical Staging by Arthur Faria 
Musical Adaptations, Orchestrations & Arrangements by Luther Henderson 
Vocal & Musical Concepts by Jeffrey Gutcheon 
Musical Arrangements by Jeffrey Gutcheon & William Elliott 

Directed by Gerry McIntyre 
Trad A Burns, Lighting Designer 
Nicki Cathro, Assistant Stage Manager 
Dustin Cross, Costume Designer 
Charles Fee, Producing Artistic Director 
David Gotwald, Sound Designer 
Murray Horwitz, Author/Creator 
Sarah Kelso, Production Stage Manager 
Iran Micheal Leon, Hair and Wig Designer 
Gerry MacIntyre, Director/Choreographer 
Richard Maltby Jr. , Author/Creator 
Stanley Meyer, Scenic Designer 
Fats Waller, Composer 
Lindy Warren, Assistant Stage Manager 

Published by Kate Klotzbach

After writing for Examiner for 7 years, I brought my content to a new venue! Founded in June of 2016. I'm a Musical Theater graduate of Ohio Northern University and a long-time performer, arts lover and former stage manager. I spent 3 years touring the U.S. with VEE Corporation, and am a proud Cleveland Singing Angels alum. Lover of Cleveland, chocolate, coffee, dogs, scary movies, Cards Against Humanity and (of course) my awesome family. PLEASE BE SURE TO "FOLLOW" MY BLOG FOR ALL OF THE LATEST UPDATES AND POSTS!

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