“One Night With Janis Joplin”—the musical, is not your typical theatrical experience. Created, written, and directed by Randy Johnson, and starring Mary Bridget Davies, “One Night With Janis Joplin” takes viewers on a musical journey of the iconic rock ‘n’ roll legend’s life.
On Sunday, March 17, 2013, the Pasadena Playhouse invited media to experience the acclaimed event. With a richly talented live band, songs like “Down On Me”, “Piece of My Heart” and “Me and Bobby McGee”, among others, transported the audience back to the rockin’ 60’s.
Needless to say, however, it was the performance of Mary Bridget Davies that made that journey all the more believable. When Davies set foot on stage, she became The Janis Joplin. With her powerful voice and striking resemblance to the late singer, Davies delivered non-stop electric renditions of the singer’s soulful/blues classics.
The musical also combines storytelling, in which Davies shares a few insights into the life of Joplin, who was known as “The Queen of Psychedelic Soul” as well as “The Queen of Rock and Roll”. The event also includes acts by musicians who influenced the singer. Sabrina Elayne Carten, for example, brought the souls of old blues and jazz greats such as Etta James, Bessie Smith, and Aretha Franklin, to life on stage.
For many people, any song in particular can quickly become a soundtrack to their life. And listening to that specific song performed by anyone other than the original artist, can almost feel like an intrusion into their life and a disservice to the original performer. A few renditions from Green Day’s “American Idiot” musical or Queen’s “We Will Rock You” experience come to mind. But fans of Joplin will be happy to know that in “On One Night With Janis”, playwright and director Randy Johnson, stayed true to the essence of the songs and meticulously cultivated the character of the singer. Here, there is no feeling of intrusion or efforts that fall short. Here, there is only celebration of a life that, when living, energized the souls of an entire generation. And that now in spirit, and through homages such as “On One Night With Janis”, continues to embody the essence of good old rock n’ roll.
“One Night With Janis Joplin” will be playing at the Pasadena Playhouse through April 21.