Love, Janis (musical)

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Love, Janis
Music Janis Joplin
Lyrics Janis Joplin
Book Randal Myler
Basis The life of Janis Joplin
Productions 1994 Denver Center
Cleveland Playhouse
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Chicago's Royal George Theatre
Cincinnati Playhouse
1997 Zach Scott Theatre
2000 Bay Street Theatre
2001 Off-Broadway
2001 San Diego Repertory Theatre
2006 San Francisco Marines Memorial Theatre
2007 Kansas City Repertory Theatre
2008 Alley Theatre, Houston

Love, Janis is the musical stage show about the life and music of rock and roll singer Janis Joplin, conceived, adapted and directed by Randal Myler. It debuted Off-Broadway in 2001, with musical direction by former Big Brother And The Holding Company band member Sam Andrew.

Productions[edit]

Love, Janis was initially produced by the Denver Center Theater Company in May 1994, directed by Randal Myler. Onstage Janis was played by Laura Theodore and Catherine Curtin (Orange Is The New Black) played the private Janis.[1]

Love, Janis was produced at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, Austin, Texas, running in August 1997 through October 1997. Directed by Randal Myler, Andra Mitrovich played Janis as the soulful singer and Catherine Curtin portrayed the private woman.[2] The musical also played at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York in 2000, as well as the Cleveland Playhouse (in 1999) and the Royal George Theatre in Chicago (in 1999).[3][4][5]

Love, Janis opened Off-Broadway at the Village Theatre, New York City, opening on April 10, 2001 and closed on January 5, 2003 after over 700 performances. Directed by Randal Myler, Catherine Curtin starred as Janis, with alternating performances by Cathy Richardson and Andra Mitrovich (later singers included Beth Hart and Laura Branigan). Production design was by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer and costumes were by Robert Blackman.[6][7]

Regional productions[edit]

There were several regional productions that ran after the Off-Broadway production. The musical premiered on the West Coast at the San Diego Repertory Theatre in September 2001.[8] A production played at the Marines Memorial Theater, San Francisco in July 2006, directed by Myler and with musical direction by former Big Brother And The Holding Company band member Sam Andrew. The San Francisco production included lighting by Bill Ham, the man behind the psychedelic light shows at the Avalon Ballroom and other venues in San Francisco in the 1960s.[9] A production ran at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre (Kansas City) in 2007, directed by Myler which featured Kacee Clanton and Mary Bridget Davies alternating as the singing Janis.[10] The musical ran at the Alley Theatre, Houston Texas starting in January 2008, directed by Myler and starring Katrina Chester.[11]

Concept[edit]

The musical was inspired by the best-selling book of the same name by sister Laura Joplin. Myler constructed the musical around the letters that Laura Joplin had given him.[3] The musical begins in 1966, after Joplin has hitchhiked to San Francisco to join Big Brother and the Holding Company, and ends with her death in 1970. Her journey is told in her own words; the entire spoken text is quoted from Joplin's letters and interviews.

Performances include many of Joplin's most famous songs, "Piece of My Heart", "Get It While You Can", "Me and Bobby McGee", "Ball and Chain" and "Mercedes Benz". Music direction for the Off-Broadway production was provided by Sam Andrew, [7]founding member of Big Brother and the Holding Company. A soundtrack album, using the original music and with letters read by Catherine Curtin, has also been released.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Young, Allan."Review: ‘Love, Janis the Songs, the Letters, the Soul of Janis Joplin’ Variety, May 16, 1994
  2. ^ Lefkowitz, David. " 'Love, Janis' Extends to Oct 31 in TX" playbill.com, October 7, 1997
  3. ^ a b Simonson, Robert. "Beth Hart Joins Love, Janis Nov. 29-Dec. 31" playbill.com, December 3, 2001
  4. ^ Jones, Chris. "Back Stage. 'Love, Janis' Shows The Person Whom Joplin's Family Knew", Cicago Tribune", August 6, 1999
  5. ^ Weber, Bruce. "A Piece of Heart and Soul in Cleveland", Boca Raton News, p. 16E, April 2, 1999
  6. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "Curtain Up Review. 'Love, Janis'" curtainup.com, April 20, 2001
  7. ^ a b Love, Janis Off-Broadway Listing" Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed July 5, 2015
  8. ^ Simonson, Robert. "San Diego Rep Gets West Coast Preem of 'Love, Janis', Sept. 21 playbill.com, September 8, 2001
  9. ^ Harvey, Dennis. "Review. 'Love, Janis'" Variety, July 18, 2006
  10. ^ "Rock Musical 'Love, Janis' Opens Kansas City Repertory Theatre's New Copaken Stage" infozine.com, January 31, 2007
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Katrina Chester Returns to Love, Janis for Alley Theatre Run" playbill.com, December 2007