When She’s Away from LSMNJ, Wanda Jordan Ain’t Misbehavin’
By day, you’ll find Wanda Jordan responding to employee concerns, managing benefits, and considering job applicants in her role as a human resources specialist for Lutheran Social Ministries of NJ. However, over the past several weeks, by night our Wanda transformed into an actress and chanteuse mesmerizing listeners with her soulful renditions of Mean to Me and Feeling I’m Falling.
As one of a talented eight person cast, her alter ego, “Wanda Mychele,” helped transport standing-room only audiences from a church hall in Burlington, NJ to a 30’s Manhattan nightclub as they performed the up-tempo musical Ain’t Misbehavin’. The eight performances staged by the Bridge Players Theatre Company this February—Black History Month—featured both solos and beautifully choreographed ensemble productions. The show and its exceptional cast offered a professional quality tribute to the black musicians credited with introducing a new beat that came to be known as “swing.”
Wanda has been singing as long as she can remember. Her first solo was performing Let There Be Peace On Earth for her church at the tender age of seven. Although she went to college for business training to “have something to fall back on” and now puts that knowledge to good use every weekday at LSMNJ, Wanda’s passion continues to be her music. After teaching herself to play the piano by listening to records, she also invested in voice training with an opera singer to hone her natural talents. Appropriate for her role in Ain’t Misbehavin’, Wanda’s singing style is influenced by three vocal greats from that era—Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday—and her favorite performance genres include Smooth Jazz, R&B, and Pop. Prior to joining the cast of Ain’t Misbehavin’, Wanda’s singing focused on orchestra and band work as well as her music ministry with her church. She has been the featured singer with the Peter Cole Orchestra of Cherry Hill since 1989 and also volunteers with The Burlington Entertainers, who give yearly performances to help raise funds for the Deborah Heart & Lung Center.
Asked to share what she liked most about Ain’t Misbehavin’, in true Wanda form she said it was the cast. “The cast just jelled. Right away there was an instant bond. The energy was so good, and I think that really contributed to the outstanding vocals. Now that the show is over, I really miss the whole group. I feel blessed to have experienced this wonderful show with all of them.”
About the Show
Named after the song by Fats Waller, Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a musical revue and tribute to musicians of the 20’s and 30’s who were part of the Harlem Renaissance. When the show first opened in an east side cabaret on February 8, 1978, among the cast were popular artists such as Irene Cara and Nell Carter who achieved lasting acclaim for her powerful performance of Mean to Me. Well-received, Ain’t Misbehavin’ soon moved to Broadway, opening there at the Longacre Theatre on May 9, 1978.
This presentation of Ain’t Misbehavin’ was a production of the Bridge Players Theatre. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, this community theater group based in Burlington, NJ is dedicated to presenting high quality, affordable theatrical productions to the community. People of all ages and from all backgrounds are encouraged to volunteer and celebrate their individual talents and their mutual passion for live theater. www.bridgeplayerstheatre.com