The Fox Theatre Welcomes “Ain’t Too Proud” in Atlanta
This month, the Fox Theatre welcomes “Ain’t Too Proud,” bringing the lively production based on the rise of The Temptations to Atlanta. Fans can enjoy the musical hits of the Motown favorite in the biographical show. We chatted with Chani Maisonet, Femail Identifying Swing and Assistant Dance Captain about the show, the North American tour, her career and Atlanta.
Inside “Ain’t Too Proud” With Chani Maisonet
WT: Can you tell us about your work in “Ain’t Too Proud”?
Maisonet: Every show day is a new exciting day for me. I never know when the day is going to be a day I get to go on for a role or help to put someone else in a role that day. It affects me as both Swing and Assistant Dance Captain. I love the roles I play because I get to take on iconic Motown artists that Berry Gordy developed: Diana Ross and the Supremes in particular. I also get to play one of the first women to own a recording company, Johnnie Mae, firey, knows her business, and is described to be "A Shark of a woman." I also get to swing in for Otis Williams' wife, Josephine. Otis Williams started the Temptations and is the only living Temp still performing right now.
WT: How did you get your start in performing, and in what other shows have you performed?
Maisonet: I've been performing since the age of four which was when I had my first solo in the church choir with my mom. I sang one line in "Jesus is the light of the world," and my line was "JESUS." From then on, my mom discovered that I could sing. My mother was a church musician and started me and my sisters in a Gospel singing group called "The Maisonet Sisters" and toured all over Rome, Ga and Atlanta singing together and eventually went on to open up for John Legend and Patty LaBelle in a benefit concert at the Phillips Arena. That's how I got my start. From there, I studied vocal performance and trained as an opera singer at Kennesaw State University. Opera found me. After graduating, I started my performance career in Atlanta, Ga, for five years. Show Credits include "Dreamgirls," "West Side Story," and "A Chorus Line" (Atlanta Lyric Theatre), "In The Heights & Hunchback" (Aurora Theatre), "Simply Simone & 110 In The Shade" (Theatrical Outfit), "Holler If Ya Hear Me" (Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre), "Hairspray" (City Springs Theatre) and "Dancing Granny," "Ever After," and "Becoming Nancy" (Alliance Theatre).
WT: What is your favorite Broadway show—other than "Ain't Too Proud," of course?
Maisonet: My favorite Broadway show is a tie between “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” and “Phantom of The Opera.” I'd love to play Tina and Christine one day. It's two totally different styles, but I absolutely love it.
WT: What is the process like when you prepare for a new city?
Maisonet: Preparing for a new city is definitely challenging on the road, yet rewarding. It's the process of moving all of our belongings from one city to the next, touring the new theatre to do a show that night all in one day. The rewarding part is visiting new cities and theatres and seeing how each new audience really enjoys the show and the legacy The Temptations have built. It's a recording of time for them, and that really chomps the challenge of arriving in each new city.
WT: Can you tell us about your time in Atlanta so far?
Maisonet: My whole career until now has been in Atlanta. I have been blessed to have worked in almost every theatre there: Alliance Theatre, City Springs Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Kenny Leon's True Colors, The Fox Theatre, Out of Hand Theatre and more.
While doing theatre, I had the pleasure of working as a Vocal Teacher for myself at Made 4 The Stage and at City Springs Theatre. During the pandemic, we were able to hold classes for artists and help to uplift our arts community.
Before working in musical theatre in Atlanta, I was a professional Salsa Dancer and Instructor with Rhythmz and Motions Dance Studio. Atlanta has my heart, and I can't wait to hopefully perform at The Fox Theatre there.
WT: Is there anything you're looking forward to seeing during your run in Atlanta?
Maisonet: My friends and family mean the most to me. I recently moved and auditioned for this show last August and booked it for the 1st week of September. I am so excited to see my Atlanta fam!
WT: How has the show undergone any changes in order to account for additional health and safety measures?
Maisonet: Everything has really changed. The pandemic has taken a big toll on the arts community and specifically Broadway shows. All that is to say that we take health very seriously. We are required to wear masks all the time, even while rehearsing, and we test every day before arriving at the show.
A new role was created to keep us safe too. Our Covid Safety Manager, Sacha Comrie, is such an amazing human, and without her, we would not even have a show. Shout out to all of the new Covid Safety Managers working so hard to keep us safe!