'One Night With Janis Joplin' Gives Real Look Into Musician's Life and Inspiration

One night with Janis Joplin keeps the spirt of the legendary singer alive and well.

If you have yet to see it, contemplate doing so.

Something amazing is going on at the Cleveland playhouse Allen Theater, as the spirit of Janis Joplin is alive and well and being channeled through the voice of Mary Bridget Davies, who plays the part of Janis in One night with Janis Joplin.

With her first opening breath, Davies, who tours internationally with Joplin's original band Big Brother and the Holding Company – was able to make the hair on you arms stand up with her vocalization of Janis' greatest hits. 

The troupe of actors and musicians breathe life into the Southern bohemian that is Janis, giving one a real look at the thoughts and feelings of her life –  from growing up in a small Texas town, then moving to California where her real rise to fame started.

Joplin, who was inspired by soul gospel and the blues, more or less jumped on the hippie movement of the 1960's,  becoming one of the most powerful singers ever known, with some comparing her to 'Elvis' fame.

The show itself, although a musical really is a documentary of the influences, the thoughts, feelings and inspirations of the now deceased artist who was inducted in to the Rock Hall of Fame in 1995, and posthumously given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2005.

While directed by Randy Johnson, her little sister Laura had a major impact in the portrayal of her sisters life, which gave 'One Night with Janis Joplin' an even bigger dose of reality.

The whole theater was moved to standing, clapping, dancing and interacting with the two sets, which lasted nearly two hours.

Sabrina Elyane Carten added even more pizazz to the show, as her vocals depicting some of Janis' influences  growing up were incredible. When she was on stage portraying Bessie Smith, her vocals as Aretha Franklin singing 'Spirit in the Dark' was nothing less than electrifying.

The eight piece band which complimented Davies took one back to another era, as did the backdrop which although psychedelic in nature, also had a human aspect to it.

Images of Joplin's art as a youth, and at one point a couch with a bottle of whiskey and the album cover of Pearl and a guitar sitting on it added another dimension — a touch of intimacy to the set. 

This just isn't a show this is an experience. For those old enough to be in San Francisco and see Janus live, it is a reminiscence. For others in the theater who were too young, it is a doorway and the ability to be a part of something special and be transported to a piece of rock heritage. 

One night with Janis runs through Aug. 19 at the Cleveland Playhouse Allen Theater. Tickets start at $35. For more information, call 216-241-6000.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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