A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN Comes to Playhouse Square 11/9
Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the queen of rock & roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort, made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. A NIGHT WITH Janis Joplin, the Broadway musical that recreates the excitement of a true Joplin concert, returns to Playhouse Square's Connor Palace Thursday, Nov. 9 for one 8 pm performance. (Tickets are $59, $49, $39, $29 & $10 Smart Seats, on sale at playhousesquare.org or 216-241-6000.).
Fueled by such unforgettable songs as "Me and Bobby McGee," "Piece of My Heart," "Mercedes Benz," "Cry Baby" and "Summertime," A NIGHT WITH Janis Joplin, written and directed by Randy Johnson, is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences-icons like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of rock & roll's greatest legends.
The Joplin voice-high, husky, earthy, explosive-remains among the most distinctive and galvanizing in pop history. But Janis Joplin didn't merely possess a great instrument; she threw herself into every syllable, testifying from the very core of her being. She claimed the blues, soul, gospel and rock with unquestionable authority and verve, fearlessly inhabiting psychedelic guitar jams, back-porch roots and everything in between. Her volcanic performances left audiences stunned and speechless, while her sexual magnetism, world-wise demeanor and flamboyant style shattered every stereotype about female artists-and essentially invented the "rock mama" paradigm.
Big Brother's "Piece of My Heart," on 1968's Cheap Thrills LP, shot to the #1 spot, the album sold a million copies in a month, and Joplin became a sensation-earning rapturous praise from Time and Vogue, capturing the imagination of audiences that had never experienced such fiery intensity in a female rock singer. Her departure from Big Brother and emergence as a solo star were inevitable; she put together her own outfit, the Kozmic Blues Band, and in 1969 released I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, which immediately went gold. That year also saw her give a historic performance at Woodstock.
Joplin died in October of 1970, and Pearl was released posthumously the following year. The quadruple-platinum set became the top-selling release of Joplin's career and, in 2003, was ranked #122 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time."
In the years since, Janis Joplin's recordings and filmed performances have cemented her status as an icon, inspiring countless imitators and musical devotees. Myriad hit collections, live anthologies and other releases have kept her legend alive, as have shows such as the hit Love, Janis (which Joplin's sister, Laura, helped create) and 2009's Edinburgh Festival Fringe "Best Solo Performance" nominee Janis, The Janis Joplin Memorial, featuring a bronze sculpture by artist Douglas Clark, was unveiled in Port Arthur.
Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and posthumously given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. But such honors only made official what rock fans already knew: that she was among the greatest, most powerful singers the form had ever known-and that she'd opened the door for countless artists across the musical spectrum.