Randy Johnson to Direct ONE NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN at Pasadena Playhouse, 3/15
With the premiere of One Night With Janis Joplin at the Pasadena Playhouse on March 15, writer-director Randy Johnson brings yet another electrifying musical experience to Southern California audiences.
One Night-presented in association with The Estate of Janis Joplin and Jampol Artist Management-Has broken box office records for its extended runs in theatres in Portland, Cleveland and Washington DC and has racked up awards, nominations and other laurels throughout its theatrical travels, including 2012 Cleveland Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and Best Actress (for star Mary Bridget Davies); nine 2012 Broadway World nominations and DC Metro Arts/Broadway World "Best of 2012" mentions for Johnson and Davies; and a 2011 Best Musical nomination at the Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards.
The production's arrival in Pasadena (where it will run through April 11) marks something of a homecoming for Los Angeles resident and USC School of Theatre alumnus Johnson, the producer, writer, visual artist, and director behind such diverse theatrical portraits as the original producer of Always, Patsy Cline; and director of the historic Elvis: The Concert, which has played large venues and arenas around the world for the past 15 years. Writer and director of The Wildest: The Music of Louis Prima and Keely Smith and Conway Twitty - The Man, The Music, The Legend; and concert events such as Bernie Taupin's epic "Commitment to Life" benefit for AIDS Project Los Angeles (featuring such megastars as Barbra Streisand, Elton John, George Michael, Julie Andrews Joni Mitchell, and Liza Minnelli ); as well as events for Audrey Hepburn, Tammy Wynette, Michael Bolton and countless others.
Johnson also helmed Dick Clark's American Bandstand classics; and oversaw Carly Simon: A Moonlight Serenade Aboard the Queen Mary for Sony Music and PBS as well as Carly Simon's return to the concert stage at the Apollo Theatre in New York in 2007.
He began his theatre career in Los Angeles co producing Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, starring Richard Dreyfus and Kathy Bates in its West Coast premiere at the Las Palmas Theater in Hollywood. He is the original director of Las Vegas Production of Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth starring the international boxing legend Mike Tyson at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas April 2012 ("raw and electric theater," marveled USA TODAY).
Johnson-driven events have feted political figures such as President Ronald Reagan, Vice-President Al Gore, former First Lady Hillary Clinton and Governor Howard Dean. For the California Governors Awards, he directed Katharine Hepburn in a video documentary honoring Jimmy Stewart. He was integral to an authentic "religious experience" when he directed Pope Benedict's 2008 New York appearance, with a four-hour concert (featuring Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson, among other artists) and Papal Mass.
His body of work has been seen on PBS and in such diverse venues as Radio City Music Hall, Wembley Arena, The Savoy Theatre in London, Carnegie Hall, The Gibson Amphitheater, The Grand Ole Opry, Off Broadway, Regional Theaters across the US and Canada and now The Pasadena Playhouse.
He has received multiple awards and rapturous reviews for his uplifting, cathartic stage spectacles-and for his philanthropic efforts. He was given the Crystal Apple Award for his work on behalf of AIDS Project Los Angeles and deemed Volunteer of the Year for his advocacy by AIDS support group La Shanti.
For Johnson, great music and theater have their own philanthropic impact-and the power to transform audiences.
"As we are held hostage to a manufactured pop culture on a daily basis," declared Johnson in his "artistic statement" for One Night's program, "I feel we must constantly revisit our cultural history and explore the authentic forces that have shaped the landscape of our lives. One of those authentic forces is Janis Joplin."
He further insists that "Janis is a true artist without contrivance or artifice. People like to say 'ahead of her time.' I happen to believe she was right on time. One Night With Janis Joplin isn't just Janis' story: it's all of our stories in one-way or another. We all touch and inform each other as we travel this life. I trust that the audience will leave the theatre with a piece of Janis' heart, her spirit and her wisdom. The world is a better place because she was here for a moment."
Molly Smith - Artistic Director of Arena Stage at Washington DC when asked about Randy Johnson stated: "Randy Johnson is a true theater artist - what sets him apart from others is that he is that rare breed of visionary director writer truly in a league all his own. I have rarely met anyone like him--he has the ability to move between theater, the broader culture, the concert world and everything in between. He brings these talents to the stage and extraordinary theatrical explosions occurs."
The arrival of One Night With Janis Joplin will at last afford Southern California audiences an opportunity to experience Johnson's theatrical magic at its most intimate and powerful.