“A Night with Janis Joplin”
ZACH Theatre, January 29 – March 8
By Vanessa Blankenship
Photographs by Joan Marcus
Janis Joplin was one of the most electrifying performers of the late 1960s. The Texas-born singer-songwriter had her humble beginning in blues, but the way her sound dominated and combined blues, soul, gospel, country and rock and roll made her an icon for decades to come.
Like many young rock stars before her, Joplin struggled with substance abuse and died from a heroin overdose at the age of 27. But her spellbinding songs like “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Mercedes Benz” and “Summertime” come alive once again in “A Night With Janis Joplin.”
The cheerful yet dazzling musical stars Tony-nominated performer Mary Bridget Davies as Joplin and features some of the most captivating performers all under the direction of writer and director Randy Johnson.
“It’s an evening with Janis Joplin where she tells the story of her life, her influences, how she got there and her hopes for the future,” Johnson says.
The production, which has been featured in regional theaters and on Broadway, follows Joplin’s life a week before her death and “is the concert she has always wanted to give where she sets the record straight.”
Viewers can expect a score filled with Joplin’s famous tunes and hits from her icons, including Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Etta James and more. Joplin sings through the soul, and Davies perfectly captures both her essence and her powerful vocals.
“What I wanted to focus on in the show is the life and joy of Janis Joplin,” Johnson says. “I think that’s why the show has endured for 10 years.”
“A Night With Janis Joplin” plays at the ZACH Theatre from January 29 to March 8.