One Night with Janis Joplin
Step back in time to one night of music from one of history’s most talented, yet most tragic, rock and roll legends: One Night with Janis Joplin. Cleveland Play House produces the national tour launch of this new Janis Joplin musical in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.
Janis Joplin was born January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas and died from an accidental drug overdose October 4, 1970 in Los Angeles, California. She was only 27 years old. However, the music that she left behind continues to define the “hippie movement” of the 1960’s and Vietnam-era America. With rock classics like “Piece of My Heart,” “Mercedes Benz,” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” Janis Joplin is considered by many to be one of the greatest rock and roll singers and songwriters of our time.
One Night with Janis Joplin features the songs above and many more. Lakewood native Mary Bridget Davies channels Janis Joplin with near perfection and embodies the singer in almost every way possible. And it is interesting to note that this is not the first time that Ms. Davies has played the rock legend on stage, as she also starred as Janis Joplin in the national touring production of Love, Janis, another biographical musical about Joplin’s life and music. So Ms. Davies was very well prepared to take on the challenge of this innovative production, and thank goodness that she did! Hearing her belt-out Joplin’s hits is both exhilarating and haunting, at the same time. And her performance is nothing less than amazing.
One Night with Janis Joplin is a truly unique theatrical experience. It’s a little bit musical and a little bit concert. And although, Janis is the “star of the show,” One Night with Janis Joplin also features several great blues legends, including Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, and the “queen of soul,” Aretha Franklin. All three were great inspirations to Janis Joplin, and here they are given their due. Along with Joplin, all of these women are brought together in the intimate Allen Theatre with an onstage band and a groovy, psychedelic set.
Janis Joplin was before my time, and honestly, I never had much interest in her. That was until I saw the musical Love, Janis at PlayhouseSquare in 2005. In seeing that show, I learned to appreciate Janis, both the musician and the woman, in a way that I never before could have imagined. And One Night with Janis Joplin will give you, too, an appreciation for this tragic figure who literally “played hard and died young.” I don’t think that I have ever been to a theatrical event (other than Mamma Mia! or Jersey Boys, perhaps) where so many audience members were cheering and singing along.
If you are a fan of Janis Joplin, this show is definitely for you. If you are not, you will still find One Night with Janis Joplin to be a truly enjoyable and high-energy experience. And above all, the show presents a very compelling story… a very human story of a young woman with dreams that would never come true. So this is your chance to spend One Night with Janis Joplin… a night well worth the ticket price. One Night with Janis Joplin will run through August 19.
And Cleveland Play House’s 2012-2013 Season is just around the corner. The season will open with Lombardi (September 14 – October 7), followed by The Whipping Man (November 2-25), A Carol for Cleveland (November 30 – December 23), Bell, Book and Candle (January 11 – February 3), The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith (February 15 – March 10), Good People (March 22 – April 14), and Rich Girl (April 12 – May 5). Subscription packages are available. So be sure to secure your seats for these highly anticipated productions.
Cleveland Play House, the nation’s first and longest-running professional theatre company, continues to offer some of the very best professional theatre in the country. And this year will mark CPH’s 98th season entertaining Greater Cleveland audiences. For more information about Cleveland Play House, One Night with Janis Joplin, or its 2012-2013 Theatre Season, please visit the CPH website at www.ClevelandPlayHouse.com. For more information about PlayhouseSquare, its website is www.PlayhouseSquare.org.
- Christopher S. Musselman