Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

McCarter Theatre Center Continues 2017-18 Theater Series With A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN 


McCarter Theatre Center Continues 2017-18 Theater Series With A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN  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 'n' roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort, made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. 50 years after the "Summer of Love," McCarter audiences will rediscover the sights, sounds, and soul of an unforgettable era with A Night with Janis Joplin, October 10 - 29 in McCarter's Matthews Theatre.

With such iconic songs as "Mercedes Benz," "Cry Baby," and "Summertime," A Night with Janis Joplin, written and directed by RAndy Johnson, is a blues rock opera celebrating Janis and her musical influences-icons like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone, and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of rock & roll's greatest legends.

McCarter Artistic Director Emily Mann said: "When I was a teenager and into my twenties I knew the words to every one of Janis Joplin's songs. I was fortunate to see this show on Broadway, and my mind was blown. I've had very few nights in the theater where I was so happy. I loved the storytelling, not only from Janis Joplin but all of her musical influences. I was so moved, I was on my feet cheering and clapping by the end of the show...which is, believe it or not, very unlike me in the theater (laughs). It was done so well, I can't wait to share that joy with our audiences."

A Night with Janis Joplin features two incredible vocalists performing Janis Joplin at alternating performances: Kacee Clanton and Kelly McIntyre. Backed by a live band, the cast also includes Sharon Catherine Brown, Tawny Dolley, Sylvia MacCalla, and Amma Osei.

Written and directed by RAndy Johnson, the design team for A Night with Janis Joplin is a veritable "who's who" of Broadway talent, including Patricia Wilcox (choreography), Len Rhodes (original music arrangements), Todd Olson (music director), Rob Bissinger (set design), Amy Clark (costume design), Mike Baldassari (lighting design), Ben Selke (sound design), Darrel Maloney (projection design) and Leah J. Loukas (wig design). Full bios for cast and design team below.

ABOUT Janis Joplin
That 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, country, 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. But California drew her back into its glittering embrace in 1966 when she joined the Haight-based psychedelic-rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Her adoption of a wild sartorial style-with granny glasses, frizzed-out hair, and extravagant attire that winked, hippie-style, at the burlesque era-further spiked her burgeoning reputation. And from there, the rest is history. In the years since her passing, 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, various commercials, and a hit Broadway show have kept her legend alive.

RAndy Johnson is the writer and director of the Tony-nominated production of A Night with Janis Joplin. A 30-year career that is complex, definable, and undefinable at the same time. As varied as it is diverse, he has broken career barriers, made and seen history first hand, all while being consistently committed to his artistic core values. His most recent work Shout Sister Shout, based on the life of rock and roll/gospel trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, premiered this summer at the Pasadena Playhouse to rave reviews and record breaking attendance. "RAndy Johnson certainly doesn't lack for ambition or vision, or social conscience. In the strictest sense of the word, he isn't a theater director-that might be too much of a constricted space for him, although he's certainly succeeded in almost every medium including; Broadway, off-Broadway, regional theater, and the concert world. If there is a trademark for RAndy Johnson's productions, it's that they're going to be nothing that you might expect" (The New York Times).

Kacee Clanton (Janis Joplin) McCarter debut. Broadway: A Night with Janis Joplin (The Lyceum Theatre). Regional/Other: Breaking Through (Pasadena Playhouse); A Night With Janis Joplin (A.C.T., Alley Theatre, The 5th Avenue Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, ZACH Theatre, San Jose Rep); Love, Janis (San Diego Rep, Kansas City Rep, Downstairs Cabaret Theatre); Your Town Follies, a Cirque Comique (El Portal Theatre). Tours: Joe Cocker, Luis Miguel, Big Brother & the Holding Co. Film/TV: White River Tales, Franklin Fogerty, Kid Detective, Mobsters, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Parkinson (UK). Soundtrack: The Tooth Fairy, Kinsey, Brothers and Sisters, Fox Sports, Cribs, Open House New York, 18 to Life, The Guiding Light, Star Search, Thirty Something, The Saboteur. Voiceover: ZEN Foods, Tide, XL-3 Cold, HFC Beneficial, HSBC, Big Blue World, Teen Digital, Heavy Gear.

Kelly McIntyre (Janis Joplin) is thrilled to be coming back to A Night with Janis Joplin! After joining the show for the first national tour in 2016, McIntyre went on to headline and perform in four more productions of Janis at Capital Repertory Theatre, The Barter Theatre, A.C.T., and Laguna Playhouse. Other NYC credits: For Tonight (Goodspeed Opera House); Into The Sun (New York Musical Theatre Festival); Days of Rage, Ruth Maier (New York Theatre Barn). McIntyre has sung in concerts and readings all over NYC in venues such as 54 Below, Joe's Pub, The Cutting Room, and Don't Tell Mama.

Sharon Catherine Brown (Blues Singer, Chantel) is a New York City native. She is reprising her role as the Blues Singer, which she also played at The Pasadena Playhouse. She starred as Georgina in Hallelujah, Baby!; sang the hits of Whitney Houston in Heart & Soul: The Music of Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick & Diana Ross; and played Velma in ReGina Taylor's Crowns. Broadway: Dreamgirls, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Regional: "Seasons of Love" soloist in Rent with Neil Patrick Harris (La Jolla Playhouse). Film: Etta Jones in HBO's Introducing Dorothy Dandridge with Halle Berry. TV: A Different World; appearances on Dr. Oz, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Meredith Vieira Show, and Home & Family. She is also the host of the fashion/lifestyle web series The Love It! Show.

Tawny Dolley (Etta James/Chantel) has entertained audiences around the globe, sharing the stage with musical artists Estelle, Solange, Rachel Platten, John Legend, and the legendary band Vintage Trouble. She's performed on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Wendy Williams Show, The Late Late Show, The Talk, The Late Show, and The Tonight Show. Dolley played Etta James to critical acclaim in the first national tour of A Night with Janis Joplin alongside Tony Award nominee Mary Bridget Davies. Other regional credits: Dreamgirls, Once on This Island, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Parade, Fame, Big River, and For the Record: Tarantino. Tawny currently stars in Vegas! The Show at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas and tours regularly with the band Vaud & The Villains. She also sings with pop acapella group, Vybration.

Sylvia MacCalla (Bessie Smith, Odetta, Chantel) Fourth times a charm! MacCalla is happy to be reprising the roles of Bessie Smith and Odetta in one of her favorite musicals of all time, A Night with Janis Joplin. Career highlights: Rent, Hairspray, Ray Charles Live, Beehive, and Princess and The Black Eyed Pea. She has shared the stage with Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell in South Pacific at the Hollywood Bowl and Jason Alexander and Stephanie J. Block in They're Playing Our Song, and backed up Smokey Robinson, Brian McKnight, Debbie Gibson, Wynonna Judd, and Queen Latifa, among others. Film/TV: The Wayne Brady Show, Ellen Degeneres, The Tonight Show, Scrubs, and Rent. Sylvia is an accomplished songwriter writing all genres of music. Her recording group LivinOutLoud has enjoyed international success for the past 13 years.

Amma Osei (Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Blues Woman, Chantel) Broadway: Rock of Ages (Justice). National & International Tours: Rock of Ages (Justice), Dreamgirls (Effie), Fame (Ms. Sherman). Regional Credits: Saturday Night Fever (Candy), Gypsy (Mazeppa), Seussical (Sour Kangaroo), Big River (Alice), Ain't Misbehavin' (Armelia), All Shook Up (Sylvia), Little Shop... (Ronette), The Who's Tommy (Acid Queen), Rent (Mrs. J / Joanne), A Night With Janis Joplin.

Patricia Wilcox (Choreography) Broadway: A Night with Janis Joplin, Motown (Astaire Award and NAACP Award). Off-Broadway/national tours: Little Shop of Horrors (Encores/City Center starring Jake Gyllenhaal), Children's Letters to God, Bowfire (and PBS TV special), Blue in the Night (NAACP Nomination), Seussical. West End/London: Motown. Select regional: A Swell Party (Kennedy Center), The Secret Garden (Denver Theatre Center), Bye Bye Birdie (Goodspeed Opera House), Peter and the Starcatcher (Pioneer Theatre Company), Pirates of Penzance (Missouri Rep), Aida (NSMT), Cabaret (Sacramento Music), Hair (Arizona Theatre Company), Guys and Dolls (Paper Mill Playhouse). Original works: Houston Symphony, Minnesota Pops, Phoenix Symphony, and ice skating gold medalists Petrenko, Kulik, Gordeeva, Ando, and ice dancing teams for the 2006, 2010, and 2014 Winter Olympics.

Len Rhodes (Original Music Arrangements) received diplomas from the Royal Academy of Music and London College of Music, with continuing studies in composition at the University of London. He is a fellow of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (U.K.). Rhodes is artistic director of and artist-in-residence with Summit Music and Arts in Colorado. Compositions, arrangements, and commissions include work for BBC Radio, Trinity College London, John F. Kennedy Center, and the Virginia Shakespeare Festival. His recent piano quintet arrangement of "MacArthur Park" is available worldwide through Music Sales Ltd. and Hal Leonard Corporation. Rhodes is currently signed as a recording artist with Burning Girl Records (U.K.).

Todd Olson (Music Director) New York: Everything's Coming Up Ethel (Orchestrator), Zorba (Music Assistant). National Tours: Smokey Joe's Cafe (feat. The Coasters), A Christmas Carol. Regional: A Night With Janis Joplin (Laguna Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater, Barter Theatre, Capital Repertory Theatre); Mary Poppins (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina); Bright Lights, Big City (freefall Theatre); Honk! (Jenny Wiley Theatre); Grease (Jenny Wiley Theatre); Resident Music Director for Allenberry Playhouse: 2011-2012. BFA, NYU (Tisch).

Rob Bissinger (Set Design) Broadcast: Opening Ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (Emmy nomination for Art Direction). Select off-Broadway: Curvy Widow (Westside Arts), Lucky Guy (The Little Schubert Theatre), City Club (The Minetta Lane), Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (The Zipper Theatre). Select regional: Can-Can, Damn Yankees, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Full Monty (Paper Mill); Half A' Sixpence, Pirates! (Goodspeed); and Dee Snider's Rock n' Roll Christmas Tale in Chicago and Toronto. Tours include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Scooby Doo in Stagefright, Disney's Believe, Mythbusters: Behind the Myths starring Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, Magic Mike Live, Brian Henson's Puppet Up!, and Human Nature's Jukebox at the Hard Rock and Venetian Hotels in Las Vegas.

Amy Clark (Costume Design) has designed for the Broadway productions of A Night with Janis Joplin and Chaplin (Drama Desk/Outer Critics Circle noms). Off-Broadway: Himself and Nora, Stupid Fucking Bird, Heathers: The Musical, Cagney, Unlock'd, Animals Out of Paper, All This Intimacy, Jayson with a Y, Dreams of the Washer King, Apple Cove, and Dramatis Personae. Other designs: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion: The Musical, Vocalosity, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and On Your Toes at New York City Center Encores! Clark has also worked at Geva Theatre Center, Cleveland Play House, The Goodman, Alley Theatre, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Hartford Stage, Asolo Rep, Paper Mill, among others. She was awarded the 2012 Theatre Hall of Fame Emerging Artists fellowship. Clark has an MFA from NYU.

Mike Baldassari (Lighting Design) a Tony and two-time Emmy-nominated designer whose work has spanned much of the entertainment industry and been seen live in 25+ countries. Broadway highlights: Cabaret (1998/2014), First Date, Holler If Ya Hear Me. More than a dozen U.S. national tours. Europe: Beauty & The Beast (in seven languages). Film design highlights: Ghostbusters, Nine, Rock of Ages, Joyful Noise, Sex And The City 2, Neil Young Trunk Show. TV highlights: The (RED) Concert/Broadcast from Times Square with U2 and Bruce Springsteen, U2's Top of the Rock performance for The Tonight Show, Documentary Now!, pre-tapes for SNL, and Late Night w/Seth Meyers. Comedy specials for Dana Carvey, John Mulaney, Bridget Everett. Multiple NYE's with Phish at MSG. Televised concert highlights: Mary J. Blige, Tim McGRaw, Sam Smith, Garth Brooks.

Ben Selke (Sound Design) has been involved in theater productions around the world. After growing up in Hull, England, he now calls New York his home. Sound design credits: A Night with Janis Joplin (regional and U.S. tour); Let's Kill Grandma this Christmas, All Her Faces (off-Broadway); Rock of Ages, Swing! (Norwegian Cruise Line); Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Live (U.S. Tour); PJ Masks Live! (U.S. tour).

Darrell Maloney (Projection Design) has designed for broadcast, concerts, film, and theater. Broadway: A Night with Janis Joplin, American Idiot, On Your Feet!, Allegiance, Everyday Rapture, The Illusionists. Off-Broadway: Found (Atlantic Theater; Drama Desk nomination); Checkers (Vineyard Theatre, Drama Desk nomination); Tappin' Thru Life (Drama Desk nomination); Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (The Public); Pretty Filthy (The Civilians); Kung Fu, Golden Child (Signature Theatre); The Village Bike, The Submission (MTC); Bikeman: A 9/11 Play, Kansas City Choir Boy (PROTOTYPE, A.R.T, Center Theatre Group); and Karen O's Stop the Virgens (St. Ann's Warehouse, Sydney Opera House). Others designs: Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus, Surf, Old Globe, CTG, La Jolla Playhouse, A.R.T., Kansas City Rep, 5th Avenue Theater. Darrel is also the founder of the design and Production Company The 13th Studios.

Leah J. Loukas (Hair and Makeup Design) has designed for Sweat; Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812; The Heidi Chronicles; On the Town; A Night with Janis Joplin; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; American Idiot; and Irena's Vow on Broadway. Off-Broadway, she has designed for Barbecue and Fortress of Solitude (The Public), Love's Labour's Lost and Into the Woods (The Public's Shakespeare in the Park), and Heathers: The Musical, Bare: The Musical, Carrie: The Musical, Tribes, and Our Lady of Kibeho (Signature Theatre). Loukas has a BFA in theater design and production with a focus in makeup and wig design from the University of Cincinnati.

About McCarter Theatre Center
McCarter Theatre Center is one of America's leading regional theaters and is the only organization in this country that is a professional producing theater and simultaneously a presenter of major performing artists. Winner of the 1994 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, recent world premiere plays include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013 Tony Award - Best Play), Miss Witherspoon; The Brother/Sister Plays; Me, Myself & I; Having Our Say; The Convert; and Crowns. Other plays include Broadway productions of Translations; Anna in the Tropics (Pulitzer Prize); and Electra. McCarter is a presenter of world renowned artists such as Lang Lang, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Wynton Marsalis, David Sedaris and many others. Our education/outreach efforts serve tens of thousands through student matinees, in-school residencies, adult education classes, and more. McCarter is supported by contributions from Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, many corporations and foundations and from over 3,000 individuals. Discover more at

Related Articles View More New Jersey Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You