Actress Paige McNamara talks about keeping the spirit of Janis Joplin alive in one of the hardest rocking shows to take the stage at Ivoryton Playhouse.
“Our job is to honor Janis and honor that energy,” McNamara says of the cast and crew at Ivoryton Playhouse. In A Night with Janis Joplin, she and co-star Francesca Ferrari take turns playing the legendary singer who changed the future of rock ‘n’ roll as one of its pioneering women.
The show is a fun, fervent tribute to the life and music of Janis Joplin as well as the women who inspired her. In addition to the familiar songs of Joplin’s repertoire, the audience will enjoy captivating character appearances from Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone. A star who burned so bright for such a short time, Janis forever left her mark on the music world with hits like “Piece of My Heart,” her cover of “Me and Bobby McGee” and many more. Spend an evening getting to know the incredible woman behind the music.
From Broadway to Ivoryton, come share an evening with the Queen of Rock and Roll. Featuring such unforgettable songs as “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Mercedes Benz,” “Cry Baby” and “Summertime,” A Night with Janis Joplin, is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences—Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith.
Janis Joplin was one of the biggest female rock stars of her era. In 1967, she rose to fame during an appearance at Monterey Pop Festival and she also appeared at the Woodstock festival and the Festival Express train tour. After releasing three albums, she died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. A fourth album, Pearl, was released after her death in January 1971.
Joplin, highly respected for her charismatic performing ability, was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Audiences and critics alike referred to her stage presence as “electric”. Rolling Stone ranked Joplin number 46 on its 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. She remains one of the top-selling musicians in the United States, with 15.5 million albums sold in the USA.
Reviews for A Night with Janis Joplin:
“Rocks the house!” – The New York Times
“Wild and joyously raucous” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Electrifying! A celebration of the blues and those beautiful bruises they leave on the singer’s soul.” – Variety
A Night with Janis Joplin is presented in further association with
The Estate of Janis Joplin and Jeffrey Jampol of JAM, Inc.
Created, Written, and Directed by Randy Johnson
Choreographer/Associate Director Grady McLeod Bowman
Ivoryton Playhouse Co-Director Tyler Rhodes
Original Arrangements by Len Rhodes
Original Projection and Video Design by Darrel Maloney
Original Costume Designs by Amy Clark
Original Wig Designs by Leah Loukas
Original Broadway Producers
Daniel Chilewich/Todd Gershwin/Michael Cohl, Jeffrey Jampol, Red Tail Entertainment,
Stephen Tenenbaum, Michael J. Moritz, Jr./Brunish & Trinchero, Richard Winkler,
Ginger Productions, Bill Hamm, Claudio Loureiro, Keith Mardak, Ragovoy Entertainment, Rob & Laurie Wolfe/Neil Kahanovitz, Jerry Rosenberg/Al Michaels, Mike Stoller & Corky Hale Stoller, Darren P. DeVerna, Susan DuBow, Tanya Grubich, Jeremiah H. Harris and Herb Spivak
Produced in 2012 by Cleveland Play House.
Michael Bloom, Artistic Director/Kevin Moore, Managing Director
Produced in 2012 by Arena Stage.
Molly Smith, Artistic Director/Edgar Dobie, Executive Director
The 2011 world premiere of One Night with Janis Joplin was produced and performed at
Portland Center Stage, OR. Chris Coleman, Artistic Director.
Aurianna Angelique* (Odetta, Bessie Smith, Chantel)A Night with Janis Joplin (National Tour) Smokey Joe’s Café, Legends … of Rock ‘n’ Roll. (Drayton entertainment) Other theatre: Etta James in A Night with Janis Joplin (5th Ave Theatre, Seattle, WA), Effie White in Dreamgirls (Arts Club, Vancouver). Off-Broadway: Sistas: The Musical, Hairspray, RENT, South Pacific and many more. Aurianna is a native of Southern California and exited to be on her third production of this rocking show! Rock on!
Tawny Dolley*(Etta James) 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 & The Tonight Show. Dolley played Etta James to much critical acclaim in the first national tour of A Night with Janis Joplin alongside Tony Award nominee Mary Bridget Davies. Other Regional credits include Dreamgirls, Once on This Island, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Parade, Fame, Big River, & For the Record: Tarantino. Tawny currently stars in “Vegas! The Show” at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas & tours regularly with the band Vaud & The Villains. She also sings with pop acapella group, Vybration. www.tawnydolley.com
Francesca Ferrari*(Janis Joplin)Les Misérables (The MUNY), Fat Kid Rules The World (NYC workshops), The River Is Me (54 Below), The Radium Girls (The Player’s Theatre), numerous original musicals @ The PIT NYC, Jesus Christ Superstar (BoCo). BFA Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory; training @ The Esper Studio, voice w/ Andrea Green. Endless gratitude for my family, GMV, the Jag nation, & the ANWJJ team. @fran.cesca.ferrari / thefrancescaferrari.com
Paige McNamara* (Janis Joplin) has toured the country and world in Broadway hits Mamma Mia! and Sister Act, and is so grateful to be making her Ivoryton Playhouse debut! Originally from Lynnfield, MA, she is a proud Wagner College Alum. She’d like to thank the whole ANWJJ team, everyone at Ivoryton, Mom, Dad & the boys, and her team at Baker Management. Follow Paige: @Paigey_Mac
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 (Joplinairre). Thanks to the Whole Artist Management, The Mine and to my friends and family for your guidance, support and belief in me. @AmmaOseiNYC
Jennifer Leigh Warren*(Blues Singer, lead Chantel) is excited to make her Ivoryton Playhouse debut. Broadway/Off-Broadway credits include the original Big River (“How Blest We Are” written for her by Roger Miller), the original Crystal in the Alan Menken/Howard Ashman hit Little Shop of Horrors, the original Lonesome Traveler and Marie Christine. She was “the Blues Singer” in the first National & Canadian tour of A Night with Janis Joplin (and recently completed the second tour). Regional credits include, Broadway Divas, Gretchen Cryer’s Still Getting My Act Together, Sir Peter Hall’s Shakespeare Repertory Company, The Education of Randy Newman, Hair, Kismet. She performed with “Broken Bells”, “The Kills”, “Trombone Shorty”, “Moon Taxi” and “Lisa Loeb” on The Tonight Show, CONAN and Jimmy Kimmel. Awards: NAACP Theatre award, Ovation, Backstage, Dartmouth College Arts Award, BroadwayWorld Award www.JenniferLeighWarren.com
Stage Manager: Laura Lynne Knowles*
Music Director and Keyboard: Michael Morris
Trumpet: Seth Bailey/David Wharton
Guitar 1: Alex Prezzano
Reeds: Michael Raposo
Guitar 2: Dan Hartington
Trombone: Mike Mulligan
Bass: Chase Fleming
Drums: Michael Blancaflor
* member of Actors Equity
Join us for an opening night reception following the 8:00pm performance on Friday, June 1st. Light refreshments will be served.
A Night with Janis Joplin is a co-promotion between the Ivoryton Playhouse and the North Carolina Theatre – this interview provides a preview of what will be on stage at Ivoryton Playhouse from May 30th – June 24th.
Broadwayworld.com Interview: Paige McNamara and Francesca Ferrari Step Into Rock Icon’s Shoes in A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN at NORTH CAROLINA THEATRE
Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and became one of the most successful female rock stars of her time.
This week, North Carolina Theatre pays tribute to the rock legend and her influences by bringing Randy Johnson‘s 2014 Tony Award nominated A Night with Janis Joplin to the AJ Fletcher Opera House in Downtown Raleigh. Johnson not only wrote and directed the Broadway musical, but he is also directing the North Carolina Theatre production.
Sharing the role of Joplin are Paige McNamara and Francesca Ferrari, both of whom say stepping into the rock icon’s shoes, sharing her legacy, and working with Johnson is a dream come true.
Paige McNamara as Janis Joplin. Photo by Curtis Brown.
“I’ve loved her for so long even before the show came into my life,” says Ferrari. “I still sing Me & Bobby McGee with my best friend Jack. He accompanies me on the guitar and we sing it in harmony. It’s just such a special song to me. And then Try (Just a Little Bit Harder) is one of my all-time favorite songs ever.”
“At the end of the day my job is really to capture her essence and bring that to the stage and bring what people love about Janis to the stage,” says McNamara. “She had this crazy tremendous energy about her and this attitude that I think was way ahead of her time, especially being a young woman. She kind of paved the way and was this really strong empowered woman before women empowerment was this trendy thing.”
“Janis really took on the role of being a teacher to everybody and she knew that her voice was important, and that people were listening,” adds Ferrari.
And although Joplin herself influenced so many, both Ferrari and McNamara say Randy Johnson has created a masterful piece that really pays tribute to the women who influenced her.
“That’s the coolest part of the show, I think, that in addition to Janis being on stage, you meet other women throughout the show that represent her musical influences,” says McNamara. “Janis was really into all these blues singers, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, Odetta, Aretha Franklin… those were her core influences that she listened to over and over, and that’s why when you listen to a lot of her music it is so bluesy.”
“These were really the people who were unknowingly her voice teachers in certain ways and really captured the essence of what she wanted to do vocally,” adds Ferrari. “I think what’s so cool about Janis is that she is always giving credit where credit is due.”
Ferrari also says while Joplin covered a lot of other people’s songs and made them her own, the thing that surprised her the most in researching for this role was Joplin’s prophetic writing.
“I didn’t know that she wrote some of her songs,” Ferrari says. “In all the songs that she sang and in all the songs that she wrote, she really had a sense of unknowingly foreshadowing where her life was going.”
And both Ferrari and McNamara say Randy Johnson‘s connection with Janis, her friends, and siblings, who entrusted him to tell this story, is what makes A Night With Janis Joplin so special.
“He is the brains behind the whole shebang,” says McNamara. “He created it. He wrote it. He directed it. Every iteration that has occurred of this, he has touched, and he has been responsible for.”
“I think what is great about this musical is he really thought about how Janis would want to be portrayed,” adds Ferrari. “He’s really thinking about what Janis would want, and what her siblings want.”
And at the end of the day, both women say audiences can expect good music and a rocking good time.
“To see the music that you heard on the radio, to see it and hear it again is so much fun,” says McNamara. “There are so many moments where you feel like you are really at a rock concert rather than seeing a musical.”
“Its just such a joyful experience,” adds Ferrari. “Wear comfortable shoes ’cause you’re definitely going to want to dance and move around and jump around. Maybe do a little vocal warm up before so you can sing along and have a great time. Maybe bring some tissues because there are certainly very heartfelt moments in the show.”
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May 15, 2018
The Queen of Rock and Roll A Night with Janis Joplin
Opens the summer season at the Ivoryton Playhouse
The Ivoryton Playhouse will present the 2014 Tony Award-nominated 2013 Broadway Musical A Night With Janis Joplin, written and directed by Randy Johnson, from May 30 to June 24, 2018.
Born in Port Arthur, TX in 1943, Janis Lyn Joplin challenged racial and sexual stereotypes and created a sound and a style that has become legendary. She exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the queen of rock and roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with more than a touch of Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock Her unique sound, however, was originally created as a result of her love for some of the greatest African-American singers of all time. Now, theatergoers can share an evening with the Queen of Rock and Roll and her musical influences in A Night with Janis Joplin.
On Jan. 12, 1995, when she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, her profile proclaimed, “Janis Joplin’s star rose fast, burned bright and burned out too soon. The blues-influenced rocker had one of the most powerful voices of the Sixties. Her voice is equal parts tough and vulnerable, a shout into the void that resonated with a generation.” Joplin biographer Myra Friedman added, “It wasn’t only her voice that thrilled, with its amazing range and strength and awesome wails. To see her was to be sucked into a maelstrom of feeling that words can barely suggest.”
A Night with Janis Joplin made its Broadway debut, under the direction of Randy Johnson, on Oct. 10, 2013 at the Lyceum Theatre, where it played for 140 performances before closing on Feb. 9, 2014. Mary Bridget Davies, who made her Broadway debut in the title role, earned a 2014 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, and won a 2014 Theatre World Award for her critically acclaimed performance.
Sharing the lead role of Janis Joplin in this production are Francesca Ferrari* and Paige McNamara*. The cast also includes Aurianna Angelique*, Jennifer Leigh Warren*, Tawny Dolley*, and Amma Osei* who take on the roles of the many women who influenced Janis – Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and many more.
A Night with Janis Joplin opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on May 30th and runs through June 24th, 2018. Original direction by Randy Johnson, original set design by Brian Prather, original lighting design by Ryan O’Gara, original projections by Darrel Maloney, original costume designs by Amy Clark and original wig designs by Leah Loukas. This production is co-directed by Tyler Rhodes. Musical Director is Michael Morris.
Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.
Tickets purchased before June 1st are $50 for adults, $45 for seniors, $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org
After June 1st, tickets are $55 for adults and $50 for seniors. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.
*denotes member of Actors Equity
Members of the press are welcome after May 31st. Please call ahead for tickets.
Looking for something to do? Ivoryton Playhouse has been voted best place to see live theatre by readers of The Shoreline Times for three years in a row. Come to Essex and visit our historic, professional theatre – a Connecticut treasure!
Did You Know
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. She was among the greatest, most powerful singers the form had ever known and she opened the door for countless artists across the musical spectrum.