June 26--"One Night with Janis Joplin" was a popular hit when it ran earlier this year at the Pasadena Playhouse, with actress Mary Bridget Davies as the tragic folk-rock singer who died in 1970 at the age of 27. The musical, which premiered at Portland Center Stage in Oregon in 2011 and has since traveled to a few other cities, is now headed to Broadway, with an opening set for Oct. 10 at the Lyceum Theatre.
Davies will return to the musical for its Broadway run, along with director Randy Johnson, who wrote the show. The production -- which has been slightly retitled "A Night with Janis Joplin" -- features little in the way of narrative but a good deal of live performances of some of Joplin'ss signature numbers, including "Tell Mama," "Piece of My Heart" and "Cry Baby."
The musical is being produced in partnership with the Joplin estate and Jeffrey Jampol, who manages the estate.
A Times review of the production in Pasadena found a lot to admire: "In a cosmic collusion of persona and perception, this electrifying concert musical resurrects the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll with the sort of seismically sensational results normally encountered at stadiums and pop festivals."
Broadway has seen a number of rock-bio musicals, some more successful than others. "Jersey Boys" chronicled the rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and was a box-office smash. (A movie version, directed by Clint Eastwood, is reportedly in the works.)
But "Lennon," about the former Beatle, was a financial disappointment when it opened in 2005.
"A Night with Janis Joplin" is scheduled to begin preview performances in New York on Sept. 20.
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