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BWW Interview: Kristin Piacentile Brings Janis Joplin to Life in AN EVENING WITH JANIS JOPLIN

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Playing the Capital Repertory Theatre in a co-production with Virginia's Barter Theatre, A NIGHT WITH Janis Joplin delights audiences with a concert style show that captures the legendary rocker in the prime of her career.

BroadwayWorld sat down with Kristin Piacentile, who plays Joplin for select performances, to learn more about what it's like to embody such a legendary woman onstage.


How did you prepare for this role?

Well, I watched a lot of YouTube videos. And I basically bought all her music on iTunes. And then I read a couple bios about her, saw that documentary that just came out. Yeah, basically just did some old school research on her, and on how to interpret her as a character.

And among that research that you did, have you discovered any similarities between Joplin and yourself?

Oh, definitely. She's a very physical performer, and for me, that's where a lot of the emotion comes from, so it honestly made it easier that she went balls to the wall with every song she did. It's a rollercoaster of a show emotionally. Janis Joplin was really lonely, but she was still surrounded by the people she loved, and I think every person can sort of relate to that on a basic level. She loved her audience, first and foremost, she did everything for them. And when you do a show so many times, every night, you want to give the audience the full performance, you don't ever want to mark something. You want them to experience it how you experience it. So I think I relate to her on that level.

Since A NIGHT WITH Janis Joplin is part show, part rock concert, does the audience interaction add anything to your performance each time?

Yeah, I was actually talking with the band members last night, because for them, they're in the show too. They're onstage the entire time, and Janis and her band are basically the cast of the entire show. And depending on if it's a matinee or a night show -- the matinee generally start out a little sleepy -- but then it turns into a rock 'n' roll concert by the end of the show. Night performances start out at a rock 'n' roll level, and it's usually the emotional, cathartic levels that are the really big moments in Act Two.

What's been the most rewarding part of Janis Joplin so far?

It's the Audience members who come up to me afterwards. It's usually these older women who come up to me, crying, saying that I brought Janis Joplin back to life and I brought them back to Woodstock. Which is, honestly, the best compliment I could ever receive. These people who saw Janis live, I never got to, but these people saw her and said "you're right on the money, you brought her back to life for me." That's the most wonderful thing to hear. This woman came up to me last night, and she said she saw Janis Joplin live three times. I didn't even know her, and she came up to me and hugged me, crying, and she said "Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is a night I'll never forget," and that in itself makes it worth it.

Nights when you're not onstage, what can you typically be found doing?

Right now I'm reading Ragtime on my Kindle. Other than that I'm just writing songs, hanging out backstage with the rest of the cast. It's really funny, because the other Janis, we do such different shows, but they're both so unique and original, and everybody always has a good time. I've seen the show, like twenty times now.

What kind of theatre excites you?

I'm a huge fan of the more contemporary stuff right now. Obviously Hamilton is right up there with the rest of them. I really love theatre that's all about the story. I love the spectacle shows, but I'm really drawn to the stories of theatre. Fun Home is another one of my favorites.

To learn more about the show and purchase tickets, visit http://anightwithjanisjoplin.com .


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